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Construction ban adds to workers’ unending woes, Real Estate News, ET RealEstate

Construction ban adds to workers' unending woes, Real Estate News, ET RealEstate
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NEW DELHI: Anand Kumar and Dhruval Sharma, migrant daily wagers from Bihar working at a parking lot construction site at Nehru Place, didn’t go home for Chhath Puja as they didn’t want to miss work and lose money.

However, the latest construction ban has left the two worried because it will mean losing seven days of wages from the paltry Rs 11,000 they get every month. Kumar and Sharma are clueless as to what they will do for a week.

Like them, many migrant labourers working at construction sites said pollution was not just a health hazard now. “We will not get any other work as everything will be closed. We didn’t go home for the festival, but now all of a sudden the government has done this to us. The contractor will not pay us for the days we don’t work,” said Kumar, a carpenter.

Most of the labourers live in makeshift tin sheds with piles of construction materials stacked near them. On Sunday, most workers were seen sitting and chatting on the roadside.

Rama Devi, who works at a nearby site where toilets are being constructed and lives with her husband and a three-year-old child, said, “The contractor says there will be no work, but didn’t specify for how long. In the market, we got to know that construction work has been closed for a week. My second child is in my village in Madhya Pradesh, so we have to send money. The government will not compensate us for the days we have lost.” She has been working at the site for close to five months.

After the loss of livelihood due to the pandemic, Devi was hopeful that now there would be a steady flow of income to sustain her family, but the ban has added to her woes.

An elderly woman, Tulsi, who was with Devi said, “For these seven days, we will have no work. But we have to eat. I also have a cold and cough, so I have to buy medicines too. I hope the ban is not extended.”

At another construction site near Ber Sarai in south Delhi, Barsha and her husband Biplab had just returned from their village in Uttar Pradesh after celebrating Chhath Puja. “We had gone home for the festival because our children and parents were there. We missed almost five days of work. Now, we are again going to miss seven more days of work. The government never thinks about us while taking such decisions,” said Biplab.


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