Stranded in Delhi for last 50 days, over 250 poor construction workers appeal for help
They alleged that their employer company has put them in a “detention like situation” with the help of local administration, and despite many efforts, they were not being allowed to go to their homes
Over 250 migrant workers stranded for over 50 days at the site of an under-construction hospital in Delhi being built by Larsen and Toubro (L&T) have issued an emotional appeal for help after a minor scuffle broke out between them and the police on Tuesday morning.
Demanding payment of salary due to them, the stranded construction workers have issued a letter pleading to the authorities to make arrangements for their transportation to their native places. They have alleged that the company, with the help of the local administration, has put them in a “detention like situation” and despite many efforts, they were not being allowed to go to their native places.
Seeking help, the construction workers, hailing largely from Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand, and West Bengal, have released a video and photos with a letter in Hindi, saying, “We are stranded in Sector 9, Dwarka at the Indira Gandhi Hospital construction site. On April 3, the staff of L&T and some police personnel came to us and they promised to give us our salary. However, we have not received our salary yet”.
He said that L &T had provided them with rations initially but they were asked to manage it themselves after the lockdown was extended.
“We went to the DM office located in Sector 10, Dwarka demanding evacuation. But the administration refused to help us, citing the lockdown. But after we staged a protest, they gave our salary till March,” he said.
When asked about the financial help promised by the AAP government the workers said that they have not received any help so far eeither from the Central government or by the AAP government.
It is worth noting here that the Chief Minister of Delhi, Arvind Kejriwal on March 25 had announced that his government will provide financial help of Rs. 5,000 to each construction worker stranded in Delhi.
A few days ago, though, AAP govt has made an emotional appeal to the workers to not leave the city, Delhi watchers believe that the AAP government has failed to deliver on their lockdown-promises.
“We are very poor. No one has come to see us since then. Please help us. On April 11, police gave us a link but it was of no help. Then they asked us to manage private transportation…They have also abused, misbehaved with us…This is our humble request that our salaries must be given to us and we should be allowed to go home,” the workers wrote in the letter.
A resident of Jharkhand, Gareeb Ram told NH over the phone that he just wants to go back to his village, and nothing else as of now. “They gave us our salary until March. We have been asked to wait till the end of the lockdown,” he said.
Another construction worker Hajari Sah, a native of Gaya district in Bihar, told NH over the phone that authorities have assured that some arrangement will be made after May 17 when the lockdown ends.
“The lockdown has exposed AAP’s misgovernance, lack of preparedness and much-touted commitment towards the poor,” said a critic of the AAP.
Surprisingly, the Delhi govt, which claims to have a transparent system, has not updated its website since 2015.
As per the website of the Delhi Building and Other Construction Workers Welfare Board (DCWWB) there are 3,16,685 construction workers in the city; however, according to independent estimates, the real number is much higher.
In another shocker, Delhi Labour Minister Gopal Rai on May 11 announced that the AAP govt will provide financial help of Rs. 5,000 to each worker registered with the board. According to him, there are currently around 40,000 construction workers registered with the board.
“So, where have two-and-a-half lakh workers gone? Many of them might have gone back to their respective villages but still there is a large number of construction workers in Delhi. Much higher than the Rai mentioned, for sure,” said the AAP critic.