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Construction workers now have their own helpline number, says Sunil.

Sunil Kumar Gond is 32 years old. He is a mason and has been living in Lucknow for the last 15 years. He has 10 family members. His father is an agricultural labourer while his mother works as a labourer occasionally. Two of his younger brothers are studying. Sunil was married when he was 20 years old, to Manju Devi (30 years). Sunil himself has 4 children, one son and three daughters. Two of his children go to government primary school. Sunil is a native of Madai village of district Ballia in Uttar Pradesh. He himself has passed 9th grade and had to drop out owing to poor economic condition but he has ensured that his two younger brothers become graduates. His father has Above Poverty Line ration card though the family is extremely poor.

Being a skilled labourer, Sunil earns Rs 300-400/- daily but is able to get work only for 15-20 days a month, like other labourers. One of his younger brothers is handicapped by both hands. He sends money back at his home to support his family. He lives in a rented house in the city while his entire family lives in his native village.

Sunil along with 20 other construction workers participated in the Mazdoor Haqdari Yatra that was organized from 10th February 2014 to 20th February 2014. The yatra covered 8 cities like Faizabad, Khalilabad, Gorakhpur, Ghaziabad, Bareilly, Varanasi, Agra, Kanpur, Lucknow at the end of which a state level sammelan was organized in the capital city where a memorandum was submitted to the State Labour Minister named Dr. Shahid Manzoor. The workers demanded starting a 24 X 7 toll free helpline number for the construction workers which could redress their problems related to work, provision of basic facilities like drinking water, shade and toilet at the labour posts, increasing the minimum wagers of the construction workers to Rs 400/- per day, recognizing the domestic workers and granting them labour status and opening permanent shelter homes for the homeless community.

He played an active role in the entire yatra and helped to organize meetings in each city, distributed pamphlets and posters. Over all during the duration of 10 days, 120 meetings were held and 15,000 pamphlets and posters were distributed reaching out to more than 10,000 construction workers.

He says, “For me this yatra was a confidence boosting exercise. I gave speech, talked about various provisions of the building and other construction workers act and reached out to so many workers like me. ”

Mazdoor Haqdari Yatra yields results…

  • A toll free 24 X 7 helpline number 1800-180-4512 was announced by the labour minister.

  • Within days of the yatra, the labour mconstinister announced provision of drinking water facility and shade on 200 labour posts of the state.

  • This means recognition of all the labour posts and also the lakhs of construction workers standing there in search of work.

This also indicates that lakhs of construction workers across the state will get water and shade while waiting for work, which is their human right.

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