Hyderabad: Around 3,000 migrant labourers from Bihar and Uttar Pradesh working with Aparna One are stranded at Shaikpet, Hyderabad. They had been staying inside the construction site and were asked to get back to work from Friday. This created panic among labourers as the company also called in the engineers staying away from the site to come and work. They feared that this will lead to the spread of coronavirus. Workers said around 60 people were coming from outside every day.

Kaushar Ajem, a labourer from Bihar, said: “They haven’t paid us two months’ salary and are asking us to work. We thought they will make arrangements to send us back home but nothing of that sort was done. Instead, they are asking us to work during the lockdown. All the workers are scared that if one person is infected, we all will get infected. ”

Apart from this, there are no adequate facilities provided to the workers. Kausher said there were only 10 community toilets for 3,000 workers and even those are not cleaned. He said that they were told to take bath in a swimming pool which is under construction and filled with dirty water. “We have to use the same water for other purposes too,” he rued.

He alleged that they were not being provided proper food. “We were given some money but we don’t have sufficient number of utensils to cook for 3,000 people and so, we wash the same and use it repeatedly. For washing the utensils too, we have to use the water from the swimming pool.”

Junaid Ali, another labourer from Bihar, speaking to NewsMeter said, “As the space is less in the colony we are not able to observe social distancing. One day, I was badly hurt while working and the company asked me to go for the treatment by myself.”

He also complained that the contractors were threatening the labourers. “Those who are saying that they want to go home are being thrown out of the colony,” he added.

However, gathering courage, Junaid and a few other labourers approached the police station to urge them to provide transport.

“The police have taken our IDs and said that they will provide us with transport facility. They told us that if we want a private bus, we have to pay for it, which would run up to `5,000 per person or else wait for the government to announce about the travel arrangements,” he added.

The workers say that there were no facilities provided for them at the construction site and hence, want to go back to their home towns.

Aiswarya Sriram

Aiswarya Sriram is a budding multimedia journalist and is currently working for NewsMeter. A graduate from Indian Institute of Journalism and New Media (IIJNM) Bangalore, Aiswarya has earlier worked with The Logical Indian and has interned with Republic TV. Aiswarya, a Tamilian who was born and brought up in Mumbai, loves to do rural reporting. She has visited Byadgi Taluk of Karnataka, to write about the issues faced by chilli factory workers there, earlier in 2019. A craft enthusiast, Aiswarya also does quilling, painting and glass work. On her off-days, she loves to read crime-thrillers and watch anime. She primarily reports on civic issues, GHMC, human-interesting features, and fact-checking video stories.

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