Life of a Construction Workers

Sujan Afi S

Can you ever imagine sending your kid to a low graded school? Can you shift your child from one of the best schools in India to a school situated in a small village?

The answer is, NO.

Now, the question is ‘Why’? It is because we tend to believe that some specific schools provide education in such a way that helps in the overall development of the child. While there are certain schools which can’t do that. Does this gap affect us in the long run? Again, it depends on the perspective!

What we can say is ‘quality’ education is still not available to a lot amongst us. This lack is one of the main reasons behind our society being divided into the exploiters and the exploited. To get a good job we need to be an expert in any field, be it in the field of science and technology, art and craft, fashion, etc. But this expertise comes from our education only. As many Indians can’t complete their education (due to several obligations), they, naturally, can’t be an expert.

Now, the question is, what will this section of people do? What will be their source of income? Some of them engage in agricultural works. A portion gets into small scale local businesses. However, a huge portion of these people gets into the field of real estate as construction workers.

If you survey a village near your city, you will find out that there are several households where at least one of the male members of the family, generally a youngster, works as a construction worker. Some of them work in their locality, while a major chunk of them shift to another state altogether in search of better opportunities and good wages. There was a rapid development of the construction industry in the late 1980s and early 1990s because of the huge availability of construction workers. As per the government of India, nearly 44 million people work as construction workers. 

It is quite pathetic that the wage of a construction worker is less in comparison to the amount of work they have to do regularly. Wages are generally provided on daily basis. Further, it depends on the experience of the worker. It also varies from state to state. However, on an average, the skilled workers are paid around Rs. 800 per day. The semi-skilled labourers get around Rs. 600 per day, while the unskilled ones receive near about Rs. 300-400 per day. They are given one or two meals per day. However, one can’t be very clear about the nutritional value of the food. They generally work for 7-8 hours per day. The number of days they work is also very uncertain. It depends both on the workers and the availability of work.

For instance, you must have gone through the newspaper pages filled with articles on the migrant workers who were suffering and willing to return to their hometown when the pandemic engulfed India at the beginning of 2020. Why do you think they were so desperate to come back? It is very obvious that there was no work for them in other states during the lockdown. Hence, they had no other option left! This is the truth of their situation. This will be the trust always. The society can’t provide them with job security.

Another point to be noted here is the life expectancy of a construction worker. These people always have to handle things like chemicals, cement, stones, sand, etc. These adversely affect their health. Further, the workers who help other workers by carrying heavy loads (like, cement, sand, stones, etc.) from one place to another are seen to be affected with severe body aches. Due to the constant exposure to harmful chemicals and the like, several body parts also get damaged. Naturally, the life expectancy of a construction labourer is less than other civilians in India. Apart from that, we always hear of accidents like breaking hands or legs by falling from a building, getting electric shocks, and even death in some accidents. Hence, we can say that these people don’t live a ‘secured’ life.

However, one of the positive aspects is that the work opportunity of a labourer is generally good. This is because of the development of the Real Estate market in India. The demand for new houses and buildings is ever increasing. This might be because of the increase in population, increase in the availability of works, etc. For constructing a building, we need these workers. Hence, construction workers are always in demand. Obviously, the demand for skilled labour will be more than that of an unskilled one!

So, we can say that the life of a construction worker is quite challenging. The challenges of women workers are a step ahead. They have to suffer double exploitation. Being a woman, she is being exploited by the male members of her family. She is further exploited in her workspace. In many cases, the wage of women is less than that of their male counterparts. Further, her problem is increased when she is menstruating or during her pregnancy. Though the problem of a lavatory is common, the women are the ones to be most affected by the lack of a proper lavatory. Being physically weak, she suffers all the more.

We have gone through some of the problems of the workers. You must wonder how they cope up with them. Relax! Our Parliament has enacted a special act for our workers. It is called THE BUILDING AND OTHER CONSTRUCTION WORKERS’ (REGULATION OF EMPLOYMENT AND CONDITIONS OF SERVICE) ACT, 1961. It aims to solve the problems of the workers by providing them security and taking care of their health and welfare. Thus, we can say that the government of India has taken a brilliant step to help the people who are a part of the ‘base’ of the society upon which the ‘superstructure’ is built.

I hope that you have refreshed your idea about the basic details and problems of the construction workers in India. For further information, you can visit our official website. You can also seek our assistance in matters related to Real Estate by dropping a mail at info@roodland.com. We will be glad to help you and revert to you with a promising solution at the earliest. Till then, keep visiting our LinkedIn page for more updates about Real Estate.

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