Delhi’s Labour Exploits
Another inferno in a factory at Delhi claimed over forty lives. The news has two sides. On one side, it is the apathy of the authorities that enforce laws and on the other the story of how underprivileged Indians are still being exploited. Those who died in that tragic incident were all migrant labourers, who came all the way from their native places to earn their living at the national capital. Little did they realise before leaving their homes that there is Delhi has an underside which is cruel, full of hardships and is exploitive in nature. That is why even after managing to get the coveted employment, these people were not in a position to manage a living space for themselves. They had to spend nights at their working place as they couldn’t afford to pay house rent. They were virtually living the life of slaves, always at the mercy of their employer. The employer hired and fired them at will, leaving no place for these people to enjoy their lives as in many other factories across India.
Thousands of labourers, mostly from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, throng to Delhi every day in search of a better future. But in Delhi, they face more exploitation than they are used to in their villages. It may sound strange but the fact remains that in India’s capital there are people hired to work for measly amounts. They do not have the luxury of enjoying the benefits of social security. They are really bundled in small rooms where they can barely manage to stretch their limbs. They don’t have proper diets or proper rest. All they have is work, gruelling labour in hope of a better future. Till today, there are very few individuals in such situations whose dreams have became reality. Most individuals/organisations who have plenty care only for their own profits, without the worry of labour supply. They are secure in the fact that in this country getting labourers will never be a problem.
The apathy of the authorities is a huge concern, exploitation of underprivileged Indians in Delhi is taking place with unfailing regularity. Yet the authorities have not thought it fit to take concrete steps to prevent this practice. Rather, they are more interested in joining hands with exploiters. Thus, exploiters are able to violate the Indian Constitution every day and carry on their businesses without fear of the law. All these facts are known to everyone in Delhi but not a single proprietor of the illegal factories have been arrested till today. Only after catastrophes are alarm bells rung, however, most times, owners of such establishments escape the law with active help from both civil and police administration. Whether the people arrested in connection with the said fire will be punished is doubtful. The Uphar tragedy is not forgotten, the fire at the Uphar cinema hall claimed hundreds of lives. Yet, the owners were found not guilty as police could not gather enough evidence against them. Families of the victims had to take matters into their own hands to ensure that the offenders did not go unpunished. One can only hope that the police investigation the recent fire will complete investigations properly and ensure just punishment for the offenders. Otherwise, we will continue to hear about many such incidents in the future.