Daily wagers worst hit by construction ban
Gurugram The ban on construction in the national capital region (NCR), enforced on November 5 until further orders of the Supreme Court, has left many workers in Gurugram without an income. Manual workers, who gather at the Labour Chowk on Gurgaon-Faridabad Road every morning, said a full day’s work at a construction site is no longer coming their way, making it tougher to earn a livelihood.
“It has already been difficult to find work over the last few months. Until a few weeks ago, we would get jobs at construction sites that would pay ₹500 per day. Now, most of the work we’re getting is short and quick, and doesn’t pay even half that,” said Kishore Prakash, 32.
Prakash, unaware of the ban, blamed the lack of work to ‘downfall in the market’. “The work I have been getting these few days is of a porter and pays by the hour. Other days, I just sit and wait here to no avail,” he said.
The National Green Tribunal (NGT), earlier this month, noted that “daily-wage workers who depend on construction sites to make a living are the worst sufferers of the ban on construction activities as they have been rendered jobless”. It recommended to the Centre that a stipend or compensation be given to daily wage workers, who have been rendered unemployed.
However, officials of the district labour department said they haven’t received any notification about the stipend or compensation to be paid to the workers. “No such guideline has been received from the Centre,” said an official, requesting anonymity.
Gurugram, a city marked by frantic construction, is home to lakhs of migrant workers, many of who do manual work, such as digging earth, laying bricks and carrying heavy loads of construction material on sites. Most relocate here from northern states in search of work.
Several men at the Labour Chowk said they have decided to return home if the situation doesn’t improve. Daulat Kumar, who is a construction worker but has been cleaning drains in the city’s upscale colonies, said he plans to go back to Gopalganj in Bihar, his native place, next month. “This was not the work I came here for. Others from my home town left just last week,” he said.
Workers said that earlier, at least six private contractors would visit the chowk every day and a few hundred people managed to get work. The work would usually be on the outskirts of the city on large plots of land. Now, it is mostly in small areas and houses and needs only a couple of people.
“A large number of the 2,000-odd people who come and stand at the chowk go back without work daily,” said another daily wage worker.
The definition of ‘construction activities’, however, is not clearly defined under the order, said S Narayanan, member secretary, Haryana State Pollution Control Board. “But large scale activities that lead to dust and pollution are banned. Small scale work that doesn’t lead to high pollution levels is difficult to check,” he said.
To manage high pollution levels in the city, the Supreme Court-appointed Environment Pollution (Prevention & Control) Authority had banned construction activities between 6 pm and 6 am on October 26. The ban was extended till 10 am on October 31. The Supreme Court, on November 5, then ordered a blanket ban in NCR.
An FIR has been lodged against three former chief fire officers (CFOs) of Gautam Buddh Nagar over alleged irregularities in providing no objection certificate to Supertech's illegal twin towers in Noida. The FIR has been lodged at the Phase 2 police station on the complaint of a current fire department official in the wake of an inquiry conducted by the Deputy Inspector General of Police, Fire Service Headquarters (Lucknow).
The West Bengal government's decision to carve out seven new districts from the state's existing 23 has sparked protests in Murshidabad and Nadia, where residents and political parties have objected to the proposed names of the districts. Chief minister Mamata Banerjee announced that within six months, the new districts will be carved out of Nadia, North 24 Parganas, South 24 Parganas and Bankura, while Murshidabad will be split into two new districts.
In a tragic incident, a tehsildar and a patwari (village accountant) were washed away while crossing a bridge of the swollen Siwan river in a car on Tuesday night, said police. Police recovered the body of patwari Mahendra Rajak and the car about 4km away but tehsildar Narendra Singh Thakur remains missing. The rescue teams are trying to locate tehsildar. Rescue teams continue looking for Thakur across the river.
Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai on Tuesday said his government will provide two per cent reservation in all state departments to sportspersons on the lines of the existing quota in the police and forest department. "The Karnataka government has given 2 per cent reservation for the sports persons in Police and Forest Departments. A file about extending this reservation to other departments will be approved," said Bommai.
The Bengaluru International Short Film Festival (BISFF) - the 12th edition ran from August 4 to 14 this year in theatres as well as OTT platforms, has declared winners from the International, Animation, Women's Cinema Collective and Lets Include categories. “Congratulations to all the Winners!” the festival's official Twitter page posted. There were 23 entries in the international section, 22 in the Indian, and 20 in Karnataka.