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Monday, August 23, 2010

Children victims of meagre wages

Thousands of crores may have been spent on setting up venues and the village for Commonwealth Games, but the men who actually lay the brick do not even get enough wages to afford one square meal for the family every day.

A study by Child Rights and You (CRY), CRY America's partner in India, at the Siri Fort construction site has revealed 84% labourers are paid much less than the stipulated minimum wage of Rs 203 per day for unskilled workers.

According to CRY's survey conducted over a period of two months at other sites like Dhyan Chand National Stadium, R K Khanna Stadium, Talkatora Stadium, JLN Stadium and Lodhi Road, children of these construction workers have to live in inhuman conditions. They go without quality food, safe drinking water, healthcare and formal schooling, the report says.

"We interviewed many construction workers at the Siri Fort construction site and found a majority of them were paid only about 60% of the stipulated amount, which is anyway too less. As a result, these workers can't even provide adequate food to their children," said Yogita Verma, director, CRY.

As per the findings, while unskilled workers were being paid Rs 85 to Rs 100 per day, skilled workers earned around Rs 120 every day. A 25-year-old worker at the Games Village site told CRY that a large chunk of his wages was taken away by the contractor. "Our entire family is cramped into a plastic tent. Whenever mediapersons come, the site supervisor bluffs them by saying that workers receive Rs 200 and masons get Rs 500. We only get a part of it, the rest goes to the contractor," he claimed.

Verma said, "We are trying to build such a fantastic image of our country but the children of these workers do not even go to school. They just loiter around all day as these sites do not even have any facility for a creche." The report also refers to a PIL filed in the Delhi high court according to which nearly 4.15 lakh daily-wage workers were working on six venue clusters and five standalone venues for the Games in the city. CRY found children of many such workers had to drop out of school when the family migrated to the city from their place of residence.
(source: Times of India)