GHRC seeks details of steps taken to prevent mishaps at construction sites

Written by Express News Service | Ahmedabad | Published:March 2, 2009 5:39 am

Taking cognisance of the recent spurt in accidents at the under-construction Storm Water Drainage System (SWDS) project sites in Ahmedabad,the Gujarat Human Rights Commission (GHRC) has issued directives to the state government’s Labour & Employment Department and Urban Development & Urban Housing Department.

This directive,which is also issued to the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC),require these authorities to submit before the commission a detailed list of the measures taken to prevent any future mishap at the construction sites.

R L Meena,Secretary GHRC,confirmed that the authorities have not replied even after the expiry of the 30-day deadline.

He said,“We have been taking up this issue for long,and all the stakeholders in this project assured us that all the safety norms will be followed.” But the recent directive by the GHRC clearly indicates that this has not happened.

Admitting that the commission has powers to take suo motto action on any alleged violation of human rights ( according to Section 29 of the Protection of Human Rights Act,1993),Meena said,“The commission comes into picture only when all the other legal options have been exercised. We can deal only with specific cases of accidents and that too when it is brought to our notice,and not with the generic problem of violation of safety norms.”

“With so much government apathy,no wonder,SWDS works 11have seen a fatal accident every month during the last four months,” said Vipul Pandya,the General Secretary of the Bandhkam Mazdoor Sanghathan,a trade union of construction workers

The project covering a stretch of 340 km is being carried out by the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) under the aegis of Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) at the cost of nearly Rs 303 crore.

Although the state government under the ‘Gujarat Building and Other Construction Workers Act’ 1986,Rule No. 266 (also known as ‘Prohibition Order’) is mandated

to stop any construction

where safety norms for

workers are not followed,the SWDS works go on unabated in Ahmedabad.

V N Patel,Director–Industrial safety,health & hygiene,Gujarat Government,could not be contacted for his comments on the matter.

Recent accidents at SWDS sites
* November 11,2008: Land caved in at a construction sit in Maninagar; one died,several injured
* January 22,2009: Land caved in at Danilimda,several people injured
* February 19,2009: A live electric wire fell on a drainage construction site at Shaherkotda; one labourer killed,a few injured
* February 24,2009: Land caved in again at Danilimda site; two labourers died,one person rescued

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