Skip to main content

Delhi labour chowk workers get work for 15 days a month, 10% get grain on ration cards

By Bharat Dogra* 

It is around 10 in the morning and the number of workers at the Sigalpur labor chowk in Shalimar Bagh area of Delhi is increasing. As a worker Munna says: “The hope of getting any work is much lesser now due to pollution related ban on construction but still workers assemble here in the hope of getting at least some minor repair or other work.”
This is just one of the numerous labor chowks in Delhi where workers gather every morning to offer themselves for daily wage employment. It is an indication of the desperation of workers that quite a large number, around 50 or so, have gathered at this chowk even when the prospects of work are low.
Workers here explain that even when the situation is normal, on average they get employment only on 15 days in a month, earning only about Rs 7,500 in a month if there is only one earning member in a family. It is just not possible to survive on the basis of this income in Delhi, workers say. So in many cases women also work in construction, domestic work and even industries. Even in a family of two earning members, earnings rarely exceed Rs 13,000.
The workers here mostly live in rented one small room accommodation with shared toilet in Sigalpur village. About 20 to 30 persons may have to share a single toilet. The small room also serves as the kitchen. For this room they have to pay about Rs 3,000 to Rs 3,500 per month as rent and electricity charges to the owner.
What is shocking is that only 10% of the workers assembled here get subsidized or free grain on ration cards. "We do not have Delhi ration cards", say these workers most of whom have migrated from eastern UP or other areas. When I told them that the government has implemented a scheme under which they can get ration on their village ration card here, they said that this has not been implemented in their case at least. Hence all food grain also has to be purchased at the market rate.
Hence all the time there is a struggle to meet basic food needs. One worker said -- just ask all the workers here if any of them even had a cup of tea before coming here and you will know how few could even have that. Only 10% of the workers are able to buy any milk at all here for their families. We have almost forgotten about buying any fruits for our family. If someone comes to pick us for work, we will have to ask him to give Rs 50 advance so that we can eat something at lunch time.
Another worker said—sometimes we may not even have the cooking fuel. On further inquiry the workers said that as hardly anyone can buy a full size gas cylinder, so a smaller 5 kg cylinder is purchased and a refill of only about 1 or 2 kg may be done at a time because this may be all that the worker can afford.
Workers here said that quite a few workers have gone back to their villages as it was becoming very difficult to survive here.
At another labor gathering point or chowk in Haiderpur, a worker Indrasen said that the recent festival season including Diwali brought hardly any joy to workers due to the high rate of unemployment and very low earnings. Workers explained by giving estimates of their earnings and essential expenses that it is becoming increasingly difficult for them to meet their basic needs. 
In fact if there is only one earning member survival is actually very difficult and this survival actually hides a lot of hunger and deprivation. Even in case of households of two earning members, survival is rather precarious. With winter fast approaching most worker households are short of warm clothing.
Victims of accidents said that there must be some compensatory mechanism so that their family can survive till their injury heals and they can work again. A disabled youth Anil said that he has been going from pillar to post but he has not received any relief elsewhere.
Most of the workers here face problems relating to not getting their labor card (or not being able to renew it) and not getting the various benefits meant for construction workers under the two laws enacted for their welfare.
Most of the problems of workers assembled here are similar to those of the workers of Sigalpur. What workers at both these hiring points reflect most is a desperation to somehow find employment in difficult conditions. As a worker said-- when someone comes to hire us and sees that so many of us are so desperate to get work, the wage rate starts climbing down. If the employer was first thinking of paying Rs 500, he now finds workers willing to work for Rs 400 or even less and takes them. We undercut our own wage, such is the desperate need for employment.
Several workers raise questions that when their work for the most part is not polluting, so why are they denied work for so many days each year.
Last year a few workers got a compensatory payment of Rs 5,000 for the pollution related unemployment period, but this year they have not received this yet.
I did not see any employers coming in to hire workers while I was talking to workers. However workers said they will keep waiting. Then in the afternoon some may walk away to get free lunch at a temple if it is available, then again come here to try their luck for work once more before returning home.
*Honorary convener, Campaign to Save Earth Now. His recent books include “Planet in Peril”, “Man over Machine” and “A Day in 2071”



देशव्यापी ग्रामीण भारत बंध में उतरे मध्य प्रदेश के आदिवासी, किया केंद्र सरकार का विरोध

- हरसिंग जमरे, भिखला सोलंकी, रतन अलावे*  15 और 16 फरवरी को निमाड के बड़वानी, खरगोन और बुरहानपुर में जागृत आदिवासी दलित संगठन के नेतृत्व में आदिवासी महिला-पुरुषों ग्रामीण भारत बंद में रैली एवं विरोध प्रदर्शन किया । प्रधान मंत्री द्वारा 2014 में फसलों की लागत का डेढ़ गुना भाव देने का वादा किया गया था, 2016 में किसानों की आय दुगना करने का वादा किया गया था । आज, फसलों का दाम नहीं बढ़ रहा है, लेकिन खेती में खर्च बढ़ता जा रहा है! खाद, बीज और दवाइयों का दाम, तीन-चार गुना बढ़ चुका है! किसानों को लागत का डेढ़ गुना भाव देने के बजाए, खेती को कंपनियों के हवाले करने के लिए 3 काले कृषि कानून लाए गए । 3 काले कानून वापस लेते समय प्रधान मंत्री ने फिर वादा किया था कि फसलों की लागत का डेढ़ गुना भाव की कानूनी गारंटी के लिए कानून बनाएँगे, लेकिन वो भी झूठ निकला! आज जब देश के किसान दिल्ली में आपको अपना वादा याद दिलाने आए है, तब आप उनका रास्ता रोक रहें है, उनके साथ मारपीट कर उन पर आँसू गैस फेंक रहें हैं, उन पर छर्रों से फायरिंग कर रहें है! देश को खिलाने वाला किसान खुद भूखा रहे, क्या यही विकास है?

Only 15% businesses provide employees real-time sustainability dashboards: Study

Kyndryl in collaboration with Microsoft has released the findings of The Global Sustainability Barometer study. The study, conducted by Ecosystm, finds that while 85% of organizations place a high strategic level of importance on achieving their sustainability goals, only 16% have integrated sustainability into their strategies and data. A Kyndryl note: *** Kyndryl (NYSE: KD), the world’s largest IT infrastructure services provider, in collaboration with Microsoft , today released the findings of The Global Sustainability Barometer study. The study, conducted by Ecosystm , finds that while 85% of organizations place a high strategic level of importance on achieving their sustainability goals, only 16% have integrated sustainability into their strategies and data.

How the slogan Jai Bhim gained momentum as movement of popularity and revolution

By Dr Kapilendra Das*  India is an incomprehensible plural country loaded with diversities of religions, castes, cultures, languages, dialects, tribes, societies, costumes, etc. The Indians have good manners/etiquette (decent social conduct, gesture, courtesy, politeness) that build healthy relationships and take them ahead to life. In many parts of India, in many situations, and on formal occasions, it is common for people of India to express and exchange respect, greetings, and salutation for which we people usually use words and phrases like- Namaskar, Namaste, Pranam, Ram Ram, Jai Ram ji, Jai Sriram, Good morning, shubha sakal, Radhe Radhe, Jai Bajarangabali, Jai Gopal, Jai Jai, Supravat, Good night, Shuvaratri, Jai Bhole, Salaam walekam, Walekam salaam, Radhaswami, Namo Buddhaya, Jai Bhim, Hello, and so on.

Violent incidents in Haldwani: CPDRS on dubious role of Uttarakhand government

By DN Rath  Center for Democratic Rights and Secularism (CPDRS) unequivocally condemns the dubious role of Uttarakhand Government and its administration in the incidents that happened in Haldwani of Nanital district of the state.

Tamil Nadu brahmins are at cross roads, their future scenario remains uncertain

By NS Venkataraman*  For over 70 years now, brahmin community in Tamil Nadu have been abused, insulted and even physically attacked on some occasions by those who claimed that they were part of the so called dravidian movement. However, brahmin community silently and helplessly ducked under pressure and showed no signs of resistance or fight back.

Ethiopian ruling classes, political masters in West have their hands soaked in blood

By Harsh Thakor  Over two hundred were killed in recent weeks in Ethiopia’s Oromia and Amhara region. After peace-talks between the Oromo Liberation Army and the Ethiopian government did not materialise tensions are escalating in the Oromia region. Earlier, on November 22, least 25 civilians were massacred in a government aerial drone strike, in Chawaka districts of the Buno Bedelle zone. This incident took place only two days after a fierce battle arose between the OLA and governmental troops in the Sulula Fincha district of the Horro Guduru Wollega zone.

Soviet army crossed rarely transcended barriers in Leningrad to overpower Nazis

By Harsh Thakor  St Petersburg -- previously Leningrad -- has been commemorating the 80th anniversary of its complete liberation from the Nazis and the conclusion of one of the most brutal sieges in history. 80 years ago, a spectacular turn of events in Leningrad played major role in shaping the destiny or determining the path of the Great Patriotic War.

Regretful: Kapil Dev retired not leaving Indian cricket with integrity he upheld

By Harsh Thakor  Kapil Dev scaled heights as an entertainer and a player upholding the spirit of the game almost unparalleled in his era. In his time he was cricket’s ultimate mascot of sportsmanship On his day Kapil could dazzle in all departments to turn the tempo of game in the manner of a Tsunami breaking in. He radiated r energy, at a level rarely scaled in his era on a cricket field. Few ever blended aggression with artistry so comprehenisively. Although fast medium, he could be as daunting with the ball as the very best, with his crafty outswinger, offcutter, slower ball and ball that kicked from a good length. Inspite of bowling on docile tracks on the subcontinent, Kapil had 434 scalps, with virtually no assistance. I can never forget how he obtained pace and movement on flat pancakes, trapping the great Vivian Richards in Front or getting Geoff Boycott or Zaheer Abbas caught behind. No paceman carried the workload of his team’s bowling attack on his shoulders in his eras muc

Landlords' armed bandits launched merciless attack in Brazil but face resistance

By Harsh Thakor  Armed bandits called the “zero invasion movement” comprising of landowners, gunmen and police marched into   Bahia with support from the PM [Military Police]. On January 21st, indigenous Maria de Fátima Muniz, known as Nega Pataxó, shaman of the Pataxó Hã-Hã-Hãe people, was shot dead in the Caramuru Catarina Paraguassu Indigenous Land and chief Nailton Muniz was seriously injured by gunshots, as were others indigenous people during an attack by the notorious  paramilitary group.

Landslide early warning system: Odisha Govt, Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham collaborate

By Divya Saini  In a strategic move to mitigate the impact of landslides during storms, the Odisha government in collaboration with Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham is gearing up to establish a user-friendly Landslide Early Warning System (EWS) in Gajapati district. This initiative aims to provide advanced information, especially regarding landslides caused by disturbances in the natural stability of a slope.