Special squad finds squalid conditions at many camps

The sight shocked the members of the special squad that had gone to inspect a migrant workers' camp at a construction site in Kakkanad. A worker reeling with high temperature was lying on the floor of his room with his head out on the step as another poured cold water on his head to lower the temperature.

Twenty minutes into the raid, a doctor arrived on the site and two tanker lorries of water were brought to clean the toilets, from which emanated a pungent smell.

The unhygienic conditions at the migrant workers' camp at a construction site in Kakkanad led to the closure of one such camp that housed 150 people in a room.

All of them cooked, ate and slept in the space that could be called a small hall.

The middle of the hall was the cooking space and the workers formed their dormitories around the hall. A single bathroom and toilet facility was present for use by all of them.

Another camp had about 30-odd small rooms with concrete flooring and temporary roofing that housed about 30-35 workers in each room. The living areas doubled up as the kitchens too. Some workers had a mat to lie down on, while others made do without the mats.

Their clothes hung about the walls on lines; there were no chairs or tables and in the midst of the mess was a space marked as the cooking area.

This camp though, had several toilets and bathrooms; these were not enough for the numbers of people housed there. The toilets were unhygienic with no proper drainage. Open septic tank pits merged with a make-shift drain outside that stagnated, giving the whole area a stench. The squad comprised personnel from the police, revenue, health and labour departments. Assistant Commissioner of Police Tomy Sebastian, Kanayannur Taluk tahsildar T.A. Rasheed, P.N. Sreenivasan, district health officer, and V. S. Chandrika Devi, assistant labour officer, led the raids. A report would be submitted to the District Collector on the living conditions of the workers. More raids are expected in the coming days.

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