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Updated: March 20, 2010 16:29 IST

Violation of labour laws at Games sites, Court told

Staff Reporter
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File picture of a migrant worker with her child at a construction site near Jwaharlal Nehru Stadium, being prepared for the Commonwealth Games in New Delhi.
File picture of a migrant worker with her child at a construction site near Jwaharlal Nehru Stadium, being prepared for the Commonwealth Games in New Delhi.

A Delhi High Court-appointed four-member committee has said that construction workers at the Commonwealth Games sites here are not getting proper wages and working in unsafe and unhygienic conditions.

In a report submitted to the Court, the committee said though it was not confirmed whether all workers were getting minimum wages as the muster rolls were not verified, the system for payment of wages prevailing at the work sites were found to be prone to abuse.

The workers seemed unaware of the relevant law and rules which makes their plight more vulnerable, the report says.

In many cases workers were found not receiving overtime wages at all, and those who were paid were paid at the rate of ordinary wages for the day against the statutory provision of double the rate of ordinary wages, the report states.

In a large number of cases there was no weekly off for them and they were employed on daily wages and received payment for the days they actually worked.

The committee found that though basic safety gears were issued to workers at majority of the sites visited by it, the workers were generally found working without them. The wages, ranging from Rs.300 to Rs.800, of some of those workers who used the safety gears were deducted, the report says.

Accidents were reported at almost all the sites visited by the committee but they could not be verified. However, in most cases the accident report was not sent to the Commissioner of Workmen's Compensation.

Though safety officers were present at some of the sites, safety supervision was found to be rare and the workers were not imparted training.

Medical examination of workers at regular and prescribed intervals was usually not conducted. As for medical facilities, first aid centres at the work sites were few and all that was available was a first aid box, the report says.

As for accommodation, the workers were found to be living in deplorable unhygienic conditions and the number of toilets available was found to be far short of the requirement keeping in view the large number of workers.

The report also indicts the regulators concerned for their failure to ensure compliance of the labour laws and rules.

There appeared to be a distinct bias against employing women accompanying their husbands at the sites and providing suitable amenities for them. Only one crèche was found operational at the Games Village, the report states.

Members of the People's Union for Democratic Rights and other non-government organisations told the committee that they had sent reports of violation of the labour laws to the Central and the State Governments but no response or incomplete response was sent to them, the report states.

The Delhi High Court had appointed the committee on a public interest litigation by PUDR and others alleging exploitation of workers at the Commonwealth construction sites.

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