BBMP stays silent as contractors flout workers’ safety norms across the city

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Workers at the Kodigehalli Underpass site
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Workers at Ulsoor do not use safety despite of receiving them
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The Majestic underpass workers' are yet to receive gloves or gumboots;there are no safety ropes or nets at the site either
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Men working at the Church Street facelift project
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Workers at the Church Street stormwater drain construction site


Bangalore, October 10, 2017: Workers in construction projects involving the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahangara Pallike(BBMP) work without safety gear. The BBMP insists that they are not responsible.

Raja Sen, a contractual worker involved in the Church Street facelift project said that he has not received any of the safety gear – helmet, gloves, vest or gumboots. The worker, who wore his regular shirt and trousers, said that he has been asking for the safety gears from his employer, Kudroli Builders and Infrastructure Private Limited for the last two months.

It gets difficult to work at the site without proper gloves or gumboots as he needs to get down and work in the stormwater drain construction part of the project, she added.

Another worker named Pabitro, who was wearing a helmet and a vest  said he is yet to receive his gumboots from the contractor.

Jayakumar, Site Engineer of the Kudroli Builders’ Church Street project said, they provide the necessary items to the workers there.He further added, it is not the contractor’s fault that the workers do not make use of the gumboots.

However, he refrained from answering questions about many of his workers’ not receiving any safety gear at all or whose liability comes into play if a worker’s life is lost due to flouting of safety norms.

The story was the same at another civic construction site in the city —the Majestic flyover and underpass phase of the Okhalipuram project.

Sanjay, a site worker said, most of them working there have got vests and helmets but the other gear like gloves and gumboots have not been received yet. He added that it gets difficult to work without gloves and that he along with others are hoping to re-appeal to the contractor (Simplex Group) soon for the necessary items.

M.R. Venkatesh, Chief Engineer (BBMP) said, whenever there is a construction project the BBMP gets into a contract with the contractor in which the guidelines for the contractual workers’ safety are mentioned.He added that if any of the guidelines are being violated it is not the BBMP’s liability but the contractor’s.

Another site engineer, Subhojit Das of the Simplex Group said, all workers have been provided with helmets and vests.
However, he accepted that the vests are not effective safety gear as work is generally during the daytime and the vests are more for identification and attendance of the workers rather than for safety.

Conditions were similar at the Kodigehalli Underpass Project near Sahakar Nagar.

Dushyant K.N., a lawyer and an activist, pointed out that none of the workers near Sahakar Nagar were seen using any safety gear or kit. However, the workers at the Ulsoor Lake STP project said, they do not use any gear at all despite receiving all the proper safety equipment.

Maithri Krishnan, a lawyer who works on construction workers’ safety issues said that workers’ safety in India is guaranteed under The Building and Other Construction Workers (Regulation and Conditions of Service) Act, 1996 (BOCW Act, 1996) and if, there are violations then the government must penalize the guilty parties.

Apart from the BBMP construction sites, workers’ safety continues to be an issue in other areas such as BMRCL’s Metro construction and BBMP’s Pourakarmikas, where regularisation was recently promised.

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