26 January 2014

Where are the toilets?

There are massive infrastructure projects underway in Bangalore - the metro, flyovers, underpasses, multi-storey apartment complexes. People put these things together. They use machine and implements, but finally it is a person who lines up the stainless steel bars, climbs atop a scaffold and breathes dust the entire time. What do we offer these people? A salary? A place to live? But let's really look this closely. These projects are workplaces. Can you imagine working in a big project, and not having access to a flush toilet? Where is the doctor? What about health insurance? "Wear your helmet" is the only safety sign I see at these sites. A file of yellow-helmet men walk past. Look at their feet. Flimsy chappals caked with limestone or cement. Do they get a place to shower and clean up? Oh yes, a bucket of dirty water at a corner of the site. They work day, and night, with little protection against the elements. Don't you think that a nutritious meal should be provided on site? What do they eat? What sort of water do they drink? When they want a break, where do they go? Looks to me that their only outlet is a corner tea stall where they continue to breathe in the dust and grime they were working in. Every time we go out into the city and I watch these projects, I think about the people building them.

Why is it acceptable that we treat people this way?

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