A mass of workers across the city are labouring tirelessly to ensure that commuting becomes a less harrowing experience in future. Coming from across the country, they sometimes work on 12-hour shifts to ensure that the Namma Metro project, which promises to decongest city roads, is completed on schedule.

Unmindful of the scorching sun and the intermittent monsoon showers, they go about the work assigned to them. Rain or shine, work on construction of Namma Metro goes on uninterrupted. Most workers don't mind the drizzle, which is disrupting outdoor activity nowadays, running for cover only when the rainfall becomes heavy.

Heat and dust

Another constant irritant is the dust as well as slush that cover their face and hands. “In summer, the hot afternoon sun used to tire us the most. We became lethargic due to the heat,” said one of them. “Water is limited as we can only carry so much to the work site (referring to the elevated tracks). The same water is used for drinking and washing. Since there are so many of us, it becomes hard. However, we adjust. I have now learnt to manage with less water,” he said.

Homesick

Most workers seemed edgy about sharing their work experiences as they don't want to get into any trouble with their bosses. Some spoke on condition of anonymity. One said the hardest thing for him was leaving his home in his beloved Kolkata. However, he took solace in the fact that Bangalore was just as busy as Kolkata, which for him seemed comforting. He misses his brother, who is now his only family member, as a quarrel with others estranged them. He admits that this has made his life easier as he does not need to send money home. His friend, a fellow worker, said he sent money home to his parents and siblings in West Bengal. “I'm happy with the salary as I am able to save a little and send the remaining home. As I am the only earning member in my family, I am grateful for this job,” he said. They earn about Rs. 12,000 a month, working 12 hours a day from eight in the morning, getting overtime benefits. They work on rotation; performing day shift duty for 15 days and then night shift for the next 15. They get a holiday every 30 days of work. When asked if they were proud to be part of Namma Metro, they said it was a job with a good pay. That is what matters.

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