Guntur mishap: Safety norms thrown to winds

Majority of the workers in this sector work and live under dangerous conditions risking their lives.

Amaravati: The death of seven workers, including two degree and two intermediate students, at the site of a shopping mall that was under construction in Guntur on Saturday night has brought to the fore the routine violation of safety norms at such spots, leaving those who work there increasingly vulnerable.

A majority of workers in this sector work and live under dangerous conditions, with death never far away as was also evident in the incident that killed two workers at a construction site at the temporary Secretariat at Velagapudi in the Amaravati capital region.

There have been allegations about safety equipment, like helmets and shoes, not being supplied to workers.

The realty and construction sector may congratulate itself for rising to the occasion after the announcement of the new capital of Amaravati in Guntur district which has given realtors, developers and promoters a huge shot in the arm over the past year, with everybody now competing to complete projects.

But while it is being reported that nearly 10,000 types of buildings are under way in Guntur and another 10,000 in the Amaravati capital region, violations of safety rules at construction sites have become de rigueur. For example, on September 10, 2015, a concrete slab of a three-storied building under construction, being promoted by Siva Constructions at Vidya Nagar in Guntur collapsed.

Twenty workers, who were taking a tea break, had a miraculous escape. Incidents like this one are legion and occur with regularity.

The government made the AP Building and other Construction Workers (regulation of employment and conditions of service) Rules in 1999 with numerous norms, but the government has not implemented them despite 17 years having passed.

A civil engineer, G. Srinivas, said that only a few construction companies were observing safety measures, with 90 per cent following no security norms.

Workers at the construction site at the temporary Secretariat at Velagapudi where two of them were killed were working in pathetic conditions without safety equipment. He added that the promoter, engineer, site owner and contractor should conduct awareness sessions for workers about safety norms and coping with emergencies before they even began construction, but they never did this. Workers were therefore under major threat.

Guntur municipal corporation commissioner S. Nagalakshmi here on Sunday said that the officials would conduct checks at all construction sites for the implementation of safety norms and warned of legal action against violators.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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