As many as 2,800 migrant labourers, who have been working at Pune Metro construction sites for over two years, have been provided food and shelter at 10 labour camps by Maha-Metro, the implementing agency for the project.
MahaMetro has also deployed doctors at each camp. “Besides taking care of their food, medical-check ups of all the labourers is conducted practically every day,” said agency spokesperson Hemant Sonawane.
“Majority of labourers working on the Pune Metro project have been staying in labour camps. All casting yards and depots have labour camps with round-the-clock presence of doctors and necessary medical aid. The Pune Metro’s safety, health and environment department regularly monitors the condition of labourers, labour camps, worksites and the personal protective equipment provided to them,” he said.
Labourers have been instructed to strictly follow social distancing norms and use their handkerchiefs as masks.
“Entry of outsiders has been restricted… and all entrants are being monitored, their body temperature measured and provided with mask and sanitisers. We have taken special permission from police to bring rations and the vehicles used for that are being sanitised regularly,” said Sonawane.
“The labourers get their wages as per the government norms under the Wages Act. The minimum wage they draw is Rs. 10,500. Now, we have ensured that they got their full March salary though there was no work for most of the month. All the labourers will also get their April salaries,” said Sonawane.
Abhishkeh Pandey, a labourer at Yerwada labour camp said, “I have been working with MahaMetro since the Pune Metro project started. Last one month or so, there has been no work for us. We are a group of 35 from Uttar Pradesh… a couple of workers want to go home, but most of us want to stay back, start working, earn money and send them to our families.”
Pandey said Pune Metro has provided them a tent and other facilities. “We get ration and cooking gas. We have our own mess and kitchen facility, where we cook the food for our group of 35 people, there are several other such groups here,” he said.
Krishna Mishra, another labourer from Uttar Pradesh, said, “I don’t know about others, but I will stay put and wait for the lockdown to lift. As of now, we have no problem staying here. We have got our March salary and will wait for the April salary.”
Brijesh Dixit, MD of Maha-Metro, said, “Maha-Metro is taking care of labourers since the beginning of the project, by providing them accomodation and health facilities. Our safety, health and environment department constantly monitors workers’ health, working environment and safety”.