Workers at the Commonwealth Games sites of Delhi University are getting a raw deal with respect to their wages, work and living conditions, a report by Perspectives, a non-funded student organisation in DU, has claimed based on a survey conducted in February 2009 of 52 workers employed at various university sites on the North Campus.
Perspectives member Shikha Pandey said: “Though the survey was conducted a year ago, the conditions of the workers remain the same. The workers are now planning to approach the Labour Welfare Department for payment of their dues and the revised minimum wages stipulated by the Delhi Government.”
According to an RTI filed by the organisation, M/S Engineer India Ltd and DU are responsible for the enforcement of labour laws at the construction sites. Engineers India Ltd had given the contract of construction to Nagarjuna Construction Company Ltd and the value of the project was estimated to be Rs.252 crore.
The survey report states that workers were mainly unskilled migrants from various States. The NCCL is believed to have employed workers through village level contractors.
The survey report has alleged that all categories of workers were seriously underpaid and irregularly paid. Women workers were paid lesser wages. Workers were also allegedly not being paid for overtime duty and for taking a weekly off. A committee appointed by the Delhi High Court has also reported similar allegations.
Many workers quit without completing their stints as they did not receive money on time, the report claims. According to the report, the wages were paid by the contractors and informal payment slips were given with no stamp of authority or official signature.
Detailing the workers' living conditions on the University Polo Grounds, the report states that the shelters were congested and some workers had to spend nights in plastic sheet tents even in winter. Water, electricity and toilets were scarce. Health facilities and safety equipment for work were also reportedly wanting. Many workers were also allegedly not provided with proper I-cards, had attendance cards with no proper records.