THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: True, Kerala is God’s Own Country. But the pathetic condition of the migrant labourers in the State has once again come to the fore with the death of a labourer from Bengal in the wee hours of Friday.
In an incident that should put any civilised society to shame, seven migrant labourers from Bengal suffered severe food poisoning after consuming fish discarded by fishermen at Veli seashore. One of them, Amittal Islam from Uttar Dinajpur district in Bengal, succumbed at 4 am on Friday.
The other six migrant labourers, brought to the Medical College Hospital in a critical state with severe symptoms of food poisoning, are now stable.
All the seven labourers were working at the construction site of ISRO staff quarters at Pullukadu, near Thumba.
Medical College superintendent Dr Mohandas said that they were brought to the hospital with severe stomach pain, vomiting and diarrhoea. "Samples have been sent to labs for testing. It has been said that the patients had not consumed food from any hotel but had taken only the food they had cooked on their own at home,’’ said Dr Mohandas.
The labourers had developed the symptoms of food poisoning after consuming rice and fish on Thursday night. The labourers who survived the food poisoning attack and are recovering at the Medical College Hospital are Sadham, Jahangir, Alam, Jabbar, Fakheer and Naseer, all from Bengal. "All of them are out of danger now and their condition is stable,’’ said Dr Mohandas.
Mythri Prasad, a research student studying the political economy of migrant workers at the Centre for Development Studies (CDS), said that most often deaths reported as due to infectious diseases are said to be because of food poisoning.
"Since they have to work continuously for long hours, they cook food once and keep on reusing it. That these migrant labourers had to turn to half-decayed fish for their meal speaks volumes about the miserable conditions in which the labourers on contract live in the state and the city,’’ said Mythri.
The post-mortem of the labourer who died at the Medical College Hospital will be conducted on Saturday, said Medical College sources.