Reality check: Over 50,000 workers, bad living conditions
Wednesday's violence at the Manesar plant of Maruti Suzuki India Limited (MSIL) wasn’t the first of its kind.india Updated: Jul 21, 2012 00:07 IST
Wednesday's violence at the Manesar plant of Maruti Suzuki India Limited (MSIL) wasn’t the first of its kind.
This industrial belt in Gurgaon has witnessed a series of labour unrest and discontent in the past as well. And what makes it dangerous, as proven by the latest incident, is that there are close to 50,000-strong blue collared workers in Manesar and a majority of them are young.
Not very educated, a majority of these young workers are casual labourers in the age group of 20-25. Living away from their families, they come from all over India with a majority from several districts of Haryana.
SY Siddiqui, the chief operating officer (COO) of MSIL, said, "A sizeable portion of the workers in our plants is between the age group of 20-25. During negotiations or any argument with their supervisors, they are found to be having high energy."
The township promoter, the Haryana State Industries and Infrastructural Development Corporation (HSIIDC), as well as corporate companies have shed their responsibility of providing decent accommodation for them. Though HSIIDC has constructed a residential block in Aliar village with rooms and dormitory that can accommodate 240 workers, it is simply not enough.
So, the workers are forced to live in groups of three to four in eight by eight foot dormitory-like rented rooms, which have cropped up in thousands in the nearby villages of Aliar, Dhana, Naharpur, Kasan, Kho and others. And there are just two toilets for every 300 workers on an average.
Near its Gurgaon plant, MSIL has made proper arrangements suitable for family living but it hasn't done anything of the sorts in Manesar.
"I walk almost 30 minutes to reach my factory (a vendor making components of Maruti cars) at IMT," said Ram Bhavan, a labourer who lives in Naharpur village and earns a meagre R5,500 per month.
Almost the entire white collar workforce in IMT has chosen to take the pain of commuting from Gurgaon and Delhi every day since the township doesn't have a decent social infrastructure such as schools, colleges and residential blocks.
It has been more than a decade since the Industrial Model Township (IMT) Manesar, which houses the MSIL plant and 224 other major international and national manufacturing giants, was established. But there is nothing model about the township as far as accommodation for workers is concerned. The area doesn't have a post office, a fire station and a burns ward.
Though a few companies run their own fleet of hired transport service for the workers, there have been no serious efforts to establish a proper mode of transport at IMT.