Skip to main content

17 hrs work by Ahmedabad women building workers daily; carry 5,680 kg of load, climb 480 steps, walk 4 km: Study

Counterview Desk
Shantaben, 45, is one of the 75,000 women working at construction sites, 2,595 of them in Gujarat’s business capital, Ahmedabad. Migrated with her family from tribal-dominated Dahod 20 years ago, she gets up at 3:30 am, spends around an hour looking for a functional pay-and-use toilet. “If I’m delayed, I will not be able to finish my household chores in order to reach the labour naka in time to find work”, she says.
Thereafter, she must spend four hours collecting water, cooking for her family, washing clothes, and cleaning. “She wolfs down her breakfast in five minutes, and changes her clothes behind a parked car”, says an Aajivika Bureau study, released in Ahmedabad, which quotes her saying, even at the construction site, she is “expected to clean the site before work commences.”
At the work site, she is expected to lift and carry 10 bags of soil weighing 25 kg each, and some cement bags weighing 20 kg. She filters sand, fills soil in sacks, mixes material, lifts and carries the material, throughout the day. Even five minutes of rest after difficult work is rare, she says. For all this, she receives a paltry Rs 300, and no overtime for working more than eight hours.
Same is the case with Somaben, 24, who has migrated to Ahmedabad from Banswara, Rajasthan, with her husband and 3 young children, except that she has to additionally take care of her three children, who include her two-month-old baby, whom she must breast feed. At the construction site, she ties a swing from sheets of cloth for her baby to sleep near where she is works. She receives only Rs 250 for her work.
Based on interviews with 43 migrant women construction workers in Ahmedabad, the study uses the new time-use survey methodology to understand the burden of their work. It points out that women workers an average work for about 17 hours a day, carry 5,680 kg load, climb 480 steps, and walk four km taking loads as heavy as 35 kg at a time.
Compared to this, it underlines, male workers are not expected to lift and carry materials, they are only responsible for filling the materials, operating the machine, or helping the masons. On an average, male workers work for 12 to 14 hours.
As part of the drudgery at home, the study says, women workers spend half-an-hour collecting water, carrying heavy 20 litre canisters of water back and forth from their living spaces. For women who live in open spaces, time spent on water collection goes up to 45 minutes. They take water from taps in nearby private homes or apartment buildings, but this source of water is not guaranteed every day.
Of the around 2.25 lakh construction workers in Ahmedabad, 80% of them migrants hailing from Gujarat, southern Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh, 30% are women.
According to the study, things are even more difficult for pregnant women, who spend up to eight months of their pregnancy working in the city, and are made to lift the same amount of weight and perform strenuous tasks. They go back to the village to perform their delivery, but in 15 days’ time must return to work, where there is no social support system.
Noting that during illness women avoid going to the hospital, as it means that their husband would also have to take a day off work, and forfeit wages, the study says, accessing healthcare costs them between Rs. 350 and Rs 1000 in the city for a single visit.
Women interviewed reported pain in their limbs and joints, severe headaches, and abdominal pain. They attribute this to the heavy weights that they have to lift throughout the day and lack of rest. Pregnant women often suffer miscarriages at construction sites, the study says, adding, yet, most of them remain completely invisible and outside the coverage of government mandated maternal and childcare, including ante or post-natal care and vaccinations.

Comments

Anonymous said…
✅લેખ રસપ્રદ છે.....વાસ્તવિકતા જાણતાં દુ:ખદ પણ છે......રોજ વહેલી સવારે હું મારા ઘર નજીક....સેટેલાઇટ રોડ ઉપર....AMC નાં રોડ સાઈડ પ્લાન્ટેશન ....જેમાં સમ ખાવા એક પણ ઝાડવું નથી તેમાં આદિવાસીઓ ...શ્રમજીવી પરિવારો ઉપર આભ અને નીચે ધરતી ....રહે છે....તેમનું જીવન કઠણ અને દયનિય છે....જાજરૂ બાથરૂમ નથી...પ્લાસ્ટિક નો પડદો કરી કામચલાઉ વ્યવસ્થા....ચૂલા ઈંટો મૂકીને...ભાત ખાતાં નથી...રોટલા શાક ચટણી વી.વી. .... પણ મેં એક બહુ જ મહત્વ ની વાતની નોંધ લીધી છે....તેમના સહુના ચ્હેરાઓ પર સંતોષ હોય છે.....વતન જાતી વખતે ઉત્સાહ હોય છે અને ચાલ ઝડપી હોય છે....બાળકો પણ રમતાં હોય છે સંપથી...કદી લડતાં નથી....

TRENDING

World Bank clarifies: Its 26th rank to India not for universal access to power but for ease of doing business

By Our Representative
In a major embarrassment to the Government of India, the World Bank has reportedly clarified that it has not ranked India 26th out of 130 countries for providing power to its population. The top international banker’s clarification comes following Union Power Minister Piyush Goyal’s claim that India has “improved to 26 position from 99” in access to electricity in just one year.

"Misleading" satellite images being shared on Balakot surgical strike on Jaish camp

By Dr Vinay Kate*
With every passing day more questions are being raised about the surgical strike India did in Balakot as a response to Pulwama attacks. So far the Indian media has claimed mass casulaty of 300+ terrorists of Jaish-e-Mohammad in this surgical strike, but there is hardly any report from foreign media about the same.

Extreme repression, corporate loot, cultural genocide "characterise" India's tribal belt

Counterview Desk
As Lok Sabha polls approach, there is considerable ferment in one section of the population -- India's Adivasis, forming about 8.6 per cent of India's population. Things became particularly critical following the February 14, 2019 Supreme Court order, allegedly seeking to evict lakhs of tribals from their forest lands.

Industry in India "barely growing", export growth 0%, whither moral anchors?

Counterview Desk
In a sharp critique of the Modi government, the Indian Institute of Management-Ahmedabad (IIM-A), one of world renowned economist Prof Kaushik Basu, who is Professor of Economics and Carl Marks Professor of International Studies at Cornell University, has told students at the IIM-A’s 54th Annual Convocation on March 16, 2019 that they have a “special responsibility” on their shoulders, “the responsibility to reject narrow sectarianism, uphold scientific thinking, openness to new ideas, and freedom of speech.”

Gujarat model? Industrial effluents "invade" borewells, discharge coloured water in farms

By Rajiv Shah
In a major embarrassment for Gujarat model, of the 21 samples taken by officials of the state government's environmental watchdog Gujarat Pollution Control Board (GPCB) in two villages of Vadodara district and analyzed by its laboratory in Gandhinagar, the state capital, to find out pollution level in groundwater, 16 were assessed as highly contaminated – these were, in fact, found to be discharging reddish, brownish, reddish, or yellowish water.

Congress would win just 9 of 26 Lok Sabha seats: Gujarat Assembly segment-wise analysis

By Rajiv Shah
Even as the Congress plans its first working committee meet in Gujarat on February 28 after an almost 58 year gap, there is reason to wonder what is in store for India’s grand old party in a state which has been long been a BJP bastion – in fact ever since mid-1990s. Ahead of the then assembly polls in late 2012, talking with me, a senior Gujarat Congress leader, currently Rajya Sabha MP, frankly said he saw no reason why Congress would win.

Refugees as criminals? US govt report blames Amit Shah for calling Bangladeshis termites

Counterview Desk
The chapter “Freedom of Movement” of the US State Department’s “India 2018 Human Rights Report”, released recently, has criticized BJP chief Amit Shah for terming alleged Bangladeshis who may be in Assam as “termites”, because their names were struck down from the list of National Register of Citizens, under preparation in the state.
Pointing out that four million residents were excluded from Assam’s final draft list, leading to “uncertainty over the status of these individuals, many of whose families had lived in the state for several generations”, the report regrets, the Indian law does not even contain the term “refugee,” treating refugees like Rohingiyas as “any other foreigners.”
“Undocumented physical presence in the country is a criminal offense. Persons without documentation were vulnerable to forced returns and abuse”, the report says.
Text of the Freedom of Movement chapter: The law provides for freedom of internal movement, foreign travel, emigration, a…

"Pro-corporate" Supreme Court order on FRA would further marginalize Adivasis

By VS Roy David, JP Raju*
For millions of Adivasis and other traditional forest dwellers February 13, 2019 will go down in history as the day of apocalypse. This is like the proverbial Black Friday where millions of most marginalized people of India were ordered by malicious anti-people draconian Supreme Court order depriving them the life and livelihood by evicting them from their habitats.

Financial inclusion? Not micro-loans; India's poor "need" investment in health, education

By Moin Qazi*
India has grown into a global powerhouse. Its economy is soaring but the picture on the ground is still quite arid. The green shoots that you see are only a patch of its landscape. Most Indians are hapless victims of inequity. India is one country where intense poverty abounds in the shadow of immense wealth.

India, Pakistan told to eliminate nuclear weapons: N-war "would kill" 2 billion

Counterview Desk
The International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW), a non-partisan federation of national medical organizations in 64 countries, representing tens of thousands of doctors, medical students, other health workers, and concerned citizens, claiming to share the common goal of creating a more peaceful and secure world freed from the threat of nuclear annihilation, has warned that “an unprecedented global catastrophe” awaits the globe against the backdrop of warmongering in India and Pakistan.