Migrant workers live in 'hell' | delhi | Hindustan Times
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Migrant workers live in 'hell'

delhi Updated: Nov 17, 2010 00:12 IST
Nivedita Khandekar

Neighbours Suman Devi (60) and Sushma Devi (35) are very worried.

They live in a hole-in-the-wall in a seven-storeyed building, a few feet away from the one that collapsed on Monday night at Lalita Park. But it is hardly out of choice.

"We came here expecting a better life and first stayed in huts on the pushta (marginal bund road). After the authorities threw us out five years ago, we started living here," said Suman, who has been working as a domestic help in Delhi for more than two decades.

She misses her home at Samastipur in Bihar but can afford to go only once in a year.

Added Sushma, also a domestic help, "We have been trying to shift to a better location, but our meagre earnings do not allow us."

There are estimated a million-plus migrant workers in Delhi mostly from Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and West Bengal. They work as rickshaw pullers, domestic helpers, factory workers and construction labourers. Most of their workplaces can best be described as sweatshops.

In another part of the city, in Bulbuli Khana Mohalla of the Walled City, crammed in a barely 8X10 sq feet room, work Mohd Sahil (23) and Mohd Hussain (25) with 8-10 others. They live and work for 12 hours in this small rented room all days of the week with a rare Sunday off.

Dunu Roy, director of the Hazard Centre, an NGO working for persons in unorganised sector, said, "Lack of active labour unions in the city and missing inspections has led to this situation."