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Islamabad

January 19, 2015

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‘Daredevil’ labourers of Metro Bus Service Project

It seems the daredevil labourers working on Metro Bus Service Project, like the one in the picture, are trying to prove their Superman skills to people moving along the mega project sites on a daily basis.
Sometimes they are lifted atop the under construction elevated expressway with the help of a lift, but most of the time when the lift is not at hand or close by, they are carried atop the elevated platforms by either clinging to the iron wires of cranes or standing on the iron bars, wood logs and other construction material tied to these cranes.
Without any safety helmets, gloves and protective harnesses, the labourers working at Metro Bus Service Project are seen hanging on top of the shuttering structure on daily basis amid unsafe conditions. But the question remains to be answered as to why they are working in such dangerous circumstances.
In a couple of incidents in the recent past several labourers were injured when shuttering of the Metro Bus Service Project fell while three of them were injured after being electrocuted.
Three labourers working at the Rawalpindi-Islamabad Metro Bus Project in Blue Area were injured by electrocution on October 27, 2014 after a crane accidentally touched a live wire during excavation and then the scaffolding pipes erected at the site. The labourers were identified as Shahjahan, Irfan and Badal.
In another incident six labourers doing construction work on Benazir Bhutto Road were injured on January 07, 2014 when a shuttering of the under construction elevated Metro Bus Service Project collapsed near Naz Cinema Chowk in the jurisdiction of Waris Khan Police Station. The labourers were busy working at the site without any sort of protective gear when the shuttering collapsed from a height of around nine feet. The injured were identified as Muhammad Shoiab, Sarfaraz Khan, Shakeel, Muhammad Sajid, Mustafa and a passer-by.
In August last year, two labourers working on the project were buried alive under

earth at a site near Peshawar Morr, Islamabad.
So why are these people endangering their lives by working in such unfavourable conditions. Just for the sake of around Rs450 to Rs600 per day?. Their insurance is out of question. And I am afraid that in case of a mishap, their families will not be compensated. There should be no doubt in our mind that after working in such terrible and unsafe conditions, the contractors will pay some sort of compensation to their families in case they meet an accident.
Apart from endangering their own lives, these daredevil labourers are also endangering people passing along the construction sites particularly in the congested areas like Kohati Bazaar, Waris Khan and Committee Chowk localities where the work on the project site is thoroughly congested. With hundreds of other people passing along the project site near Waris Khan, I like many others was astonished and was horrified to watch a couple of labourers hanging to a wire, that was lifting iron bars atop the elevated expressway. One of them was simply standing on one leg, not forgetting to hold both his hands on the iron wire, while the other was astonishingly so naive about the gravity of the situation that he could easily be dubbed foolish. He had the cheek to even bring out his mobile from one of his pockets to check it. In case there had been an accident, who would have been responsible for it? There is a very thin line that divides bravado and folly.
With project almost near completion, the contractors should at-least ensure that these labourers are made to use a proper lift and not go up hanging perilously with steel wire. This is essential so that no family misses its bread-earner.

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