A water tank, with a capacity of over 15,000 litres, burst at a mixing site in Gurgaon on Tuesday evening, killing four workers and severely injuring another.
Police said the tank was placed directly on the ground at the mixing site belonging to Simplex Infrastructure Limited in Sector-90.
Sandeep Malik, ACP (Manesar), said, “It seems the tank was old and gave way under the pressure of water. A case of negligence has been registered at Kherki Dhaula police station. The supervisor of the site and a contractor have been called in for questioning, but no arrests have been made yet. We are investigating the matter.”
However, other workers alleged that the tank built approximately six months ago had been built with adulterated material.
“It was not built properly and the material they used was adulterated, which is why it couldn’t take the pressure. Look at the way all four walls have disintegrated,” a worker said.
The workers said that all the four who lost there lives were from Malda in West Bengal and worked under different contractors. “The conditions we live and work in are extremely dangerous. Our house shakes when we push against it,” another worker said, demonstrating it by pushing against the pillar of the house nearby.
According to officials in Gurgaon’s Labour department, 42 workers have died at construction sites in Gurgaon, Mewat and Rewari in the last seven years. However, they claimed that the department thoroughly investigated such deaths, as a result of which the numbers had come down recently.
“Workers in the unorganised sector come with their families from states such as Bihar and West Bengal for a period of 50-60 days. They are paid in advance by the contractor and then assigned to work at various sites in Gurgaon. After the period expires, they go back,” an official in the Labour department said.
Officially, the minimum wage for such workers has been set at Rs 220 per day for 8 hours per day. The official, however, said in some cases, the workers were paid Rs 500 per day.
According to Rajendra Saroha, a member of the Bhavan Nirman Kamgar Union — a union that works for the rights of workers employed at construction sites — these workers were often made to work for 12 hours a day and paid anywhere between Rs 190 – Rs 250.
“Hundreds of such workers have died in accidents at construction sites in the last two years. The most common reason is falling off buildings, because the safety cable is usually not attached and other precautions such as placement of a safety net is not taken. Also, the administration doesn’t care. The investigation into such cases hardly ever results in the arrest of the builder or the supervisor,” Saroha said.