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On World Safety Day meet,students stump realtors with grim data on workers’ plight

Real-estate bodies celebrated World Safety Day at the Mahatma Gandhi Labour Institute in Ahmedabad on Monday.

Written by Adam Halliday | Ahmedabad | Published: April 30, 2013 6:00 am

Real-estate bodies celebrated World Safety Day at the Mahatma Gandhi Labour Institute in Ahmedabad on Monday. The event was attended by members of real estate associations,including Gujarat Institute of Housing and Estate Developers (GIHED),Gujarat Institute of Civil Engineers and Architects (GICEA),Builders’ Association of India (BAI) and Gujarat Contractors’ Association (GCA). A boy who had lost his right hand in an accident at work was also present.

A group of nine students from Gujarat University’s Masters in Labour Welfare (MLW) programme,who had recorded the deaths and injuries of labourers through RTI applications filed on behalf of Bandhkam Mazdoor Sangathan,presented their findings at the gathering. According to them,at least 78 construction workers died and 13 grievously injured across Gujarat due to accidents at workplace last year. The data covered all divisional police stations except those in Surat city where the replies to RTI applications remain pending.

Overall bad working conditions were buttressed by two separate academic surveys,which were also presented at the event.

A survey of 850 workers,across more than 50 construction sites and 15 labour nakas across all five wards of Ahmedabad,was conducted in September 2012 by a team from the Centre for Environmental Planning and Technology University’s School of Building Science and Technology.

They found that more than half of workers were unable to send their children to school while one-fourth earned less than Rs 5,000 per month.

A survey of 100 workers in Ahmedabad’s New West Zone by Ajit Rajiva,Senior Research Fellow at the Indian Institute of Public Health at Gandhinagar,focused on working conditions in extremely hot climate and found none were provided drinking water by contractors and builders.

“There was also no relaxation of work timings even when temperatures soared above 40 degrees Celsius. No rest period was provided during the hottest part of the day except for the normal hour of lunchtime,” said Rajiva,adding that at least 10 workers had been hospitalised due to heat stroke.

One of those involved in an electrical accident was a Dahod youth named Mahesh Panda (18). In an accident at an under-construction shopping complex in Vadodara on September 1,Panda lost his right hand. He was present at the gathering.

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