Thursday, June 25, 2009

Working hard to make Namma Metro roll

Working hard to make Namma Metro roll

Vibha Valsan
It’s a tough life for those working on the project

— Photo K Murali Kumar

Working round the clock: Workers at a construction site of Namma Metro in Bangalore.
BANGALORE: Although the Metro rail construction work creates a picture in one’s mind of traffic jams, innumerable diversions and a corresponding increase in the time spent on the road, one misses the human face to it — the men donning yellow caps. These workers are hired by contractors executing the project.

Dipango M., a worker at the Namma Metro site on Mahatma Gandhi Road says, “Work goes on round-the-clock and we are engaged in eight-hour shifts. After their shift, workers return to their quarters. We are put on day and night shift alternatively for 15 days at a stretch.”

Work is suspended at 1 p.m. for lunch. This is when they all sit down for a meal in the shade, a welcome relief from the scorching sun and dusty conditions they work in. At 2 p.m., they are back at work.

The workers are provided with accommodation on Old Madras Road by the contractor. They are ferried to the worksites in trucks as per the manpower requirement. Those who stay with their families elsewhere are given conveyance allowance.

The workers come from all parts of the country — Bihar, Maharashtra, Assam, Orissa, Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal, to name a few. Bidyum Naskar, from Kolkata, who has been working for Namma Metro for over two years, said: “I have been unable to visit my family at Kolkata all these days as it would cost me my savings. I will be meeting them soon though.”

A worker pointed to the shoes, which were tearing apart and barely adequate for the hard work he was expected to do. He said that he uses the same shoes that the person on night shift uses and lamented that a basic necessity was being denied to them. Repeated requests and complaints to the foreman had gone in vain, he said.


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