The condition of workers injured outside JLN Stadium worsens

Alok Kumar, DELHI NIRMAN MAZDOOR SANGHARSH SAMITI
Affiliated to All India Workers’ Unity Centre (AIWUC)
Office: 3267, Gali No. 8A, Baljeet Nagar, Delhi-8
Ph: 9313730069

On the night of September 28, two workers, Ashok and Phoolbabu, who were injured in the foot-bridge collapse outside JLN Stadium, were discharged from Safdarjung Hospital. In their discussion with trade union members of Delhi Nirman Mazdoor Sangharsh Samiti (DNMSS), both the workers explained in detail how they were shamelessly exploited by the contractor. Their job cards showed that they had worked way above the prescribed norms for overtime. Punni, one of the workers injured in the accident and who is still in coma in AIIMS Trauma Centre, had worked for 21 hours at a stretch just two days before the accident. The workers who have been discharged so far have clearly exposed that whenever they resisted overtime, they were badly threatened and were told that if they didn’t comply their pending wages would not be released. In this way they were completely silenced and treated like animals. In fact, the workers mentioned that just prior to the accident they had complained of having to work in the bad weather. Considering they were provided no helmets or any safety gear, they were apprehensive from the very beginning about working on the foot-bridge.

The condition of the discharged workers is very troubling for they are all need of long term rehabilitation/ physiotherapy and are still complaining of pain and discomfort. The fact that their compensation money has still not been released is a source of great anxiety to them and their families. It is shameful that so far no interim amount of money has been released for them so as to help in their immediate recuperation. To add to their anxiety the workers are being harassed by the contractor’s goons, who are forcing them to hand over their discharge papers and to sign/give thumb impressions on blank papers.

The situation is disturbing even in the case of workers still hospitalized. Punni and Jitendar are still in coma in AIIMS. Meanwhile their relatives in hospital are struggling with no help coming forth from the CWG Organizing Committee or Delhi Government. The workers’ relatives have run out of money but are still harassed to pay for MRIs, CAT SCANS, etc. They are continuously pressed to arrange for blood provided by the hospital to their injured ones. Furthermore, with no special arrangements being made for them in the hospital, relatives of the workers are absolutely alone and find themselves struggling for proper shelter. Indeed, it is a shame that they learnt of the accident not through the CWG Organizing Committee or Delhi Government but through the media and word of mouth.

If this situation continues any further, DNMSS will be compelled to launch a city-wide strike of construction workers along with other trade unions and civil liberty groups. We continue to demand immediate release of compensation money to the workers, the provision of government jobs to seriously injured workers, the implementation of a help-desk for relatives struggling in hospitals where many workers are still admitted, and the provision of post-discharge rehabilitation/ physiotherapy to the workers injured.

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