CHENNAI: Most of the victims of the Saturday’s scaffolding collapse at Perungudi were working beyond the duty hours just in the hope of being paid an additional amount.
The working hours of the construction labourers end at 6 pm, but many workers were still working when the accident took place around 7.30 pm as they would be paid `50 extra for every extra hour they work.
In the accident that took place at an upcoming hospital, one worker from Bihar, Babloo Kumar, was killed and 29 others were injured. The deceased Babloo Kumar was working on the site for over two months and was caught under the debris and iron rods.
“He lost one of his legs and was dragged out of the debris. However, he succumbed to injures on the way to the hospital,” said a police source. Also, five others who suffered severe injures are undergoing treatment at a private hospital.
A day after the collapse, the roads to the construction site were barricaded and the locals shifted from their houses. The power was cut off and earth movers were pressed into action to clear the debris.
Police stationed at the site did not allow the public to enter the Govindasami First Street. A few locals, who were present, only remember a loud sound and by the time they came out, the facility had collapsed.
Speaking to Express, Mukesh Kumar, a native of Bihar, whose leg was injured, said, “I along with three other men was seated on the ground floor of the under-construction site.
I worked for an hour extra after duty to get paid `50. We were then talking and getting ready to go to the room, when we heard some cracking sound. It was only a matter of a few seconds that we looked up and the scaffolding along with the iron rods came crashing in front.
“We went blank, three men ran in front and were partially trapped in the iron rods. When I tried to jump, I slipped and an iron rod fell on my leg. Fearing I might die, I got up and again ran when a police personnel only took me to the ambulance,”recalls Mukesh, while undergoing treatment in the government hospital at Royapettah.
Another labourer said that the facility was over 12 feet and the concrete was still not dry, which led to the collapse.
“I moved to the city in 2010 and worked on various construction sites. Over here, we normally come for work at around 8 am and leave by 6 pm. But on some days, I work overtime as we will be paid `50 for every hour. We get a daily wage of `400. I would save up this extra money to buy toys when I meet my children once in five or six months at Bihar,”said the labourer.
29 people were injured in the accident that killed a worker from Bihar
A senior officer from the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) said that since iron rods and minimum concrete were used, they were able to rescue trapped people faster and reduce casualties.
In the Mugalivakkam collapse, they had to drill deep inside to find the trapped people