They turn up in large numbers to pay homage

While the city mourned the death of its leading builders in Sunday's air crash in Kathmandu, the most touching expression of bereavement came from the construction labourers and employees working with the companies run by the victims.

Although people from different social strata had gathered to pay homage to the victims on Wednesday, it was the group of loyal labourers who had turned up in large numbers who stood out.

Waiting in the queue was a group hailing from Siruvachur near Salem Athur and Venbavur in Perambalur district working for Jothi Pile Foundations run by G.Thyagarajan, one of the eight victims.

Most of them had gathered at the National College Higher Secondary School grounds early in the morning and quite a few had touching tales to relate about their boss. “He was the man behind our economic development. He not only took good care of us but also our villages,” said Sakthivel, a labourer.

“Scores of people from our village and neighbouring ones were working for him. All of us owe much to him. He even contributed for renovating the temple car in our village. Families from the villages are rushing in here,” said Kamaraj, another labourer.

Employees of the firms run by the other victims too had gathered in strength and many of them were in tears. Commenting on the large turnout of labourers and employers, friends and associates pointed out that the eight victims were successful in their ventures because they cared for the welfare of the workers. “All these were very successful in their ventures and the accident is a tragic episode for the construction industry of the city,” observed P.Ganesh, a leading electrical equipment supplier in the city.

The entire construction industry in the city was in mourning and all work had been stopped on Wednesday as a mark of respect to the victims, said T.V.Murali, flat promoter and vice-chairman, Confederation of Indian Industry, Tiruchi zone.

Apart from labourers, delegations of representatives from the Builders Association of India centres across the State and country had come in a show of solidarity with their colleagues of the city. “Though this is an irreparable loss, BAI will rise to the occasion to see that the good work done by the victims continued,” said A.K.Youssouf, former national president, BAI.