30-year-old climbed on scaffolding from top floor of 12-storey building on Anna Salai and demanded release of wages

It was high drama for over an hour at the construction site of a 12-storey building on Anna Salai on Wednesday noon when an electrician stood on scaffolding and threatened to jump, demanding immediate payment of his wages which he claimed were pending for eight months.

Following protracted negotiations by firemen and police personnel armed with a cheque for Rs. 85,911 for more than 30 minutes, the man came down.

The electrician, later identified as Manikandan (30), a resident of Greams Road, climbed on to scaffolding from the top floor of the shopping mall-cum-hotel under construction by ETA Star on land where the popular Anand Theatre once stood.

“Manikandan was employed at the site as an electrician by a contractor a few months ago who left without giving him, as well as nine of his co-workers, their pay. Manikandan tried to reach his employer but failed. He often visited the site in an attempt to get his money and finally took the extreme step in complete dejection,” said an investigating officer.

Manikandan’s act drew a small crowd to the spot. As Wednesday was a public holiday, the incident did not cause a bottleneck.

Speaking to The Hindu, K. Kumar, leading fireman from the Triplicane fire station who led negotiations with Manikandan, said he was adamant on receiving his payment and refused to give up. “Finally, we had to get a construction supervisor to get a cheque for the workers’ payment to the spot. But Manikandan insisted on it being encashed and the money brought to him. We managed to convince him that he would get the entire amount following which he walked off the scaffolding and into the building after 30 minutes,” Mr. Kumar said.

Manikandan was detained by the Thousand Lights police and was later let off with a warning.

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