Although ensured by the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP), laborers and construction workers fail to get access to weekly health camps.
By Batchu Rushali
Construction workers and other laborers who work under BBMP are promised several health and safety facilities by the authorities while contract signing.But till now weekly health checkups are a distant dream for them.
Rajesh, a construction worker said, “I started working in this site a few months back and I have not got any access to the health camps. When our contractor got us here, we didn’t know that we have the facility of health camps.”
He added, “Every time we are injured or go through an illness, we visit the nearest government hospital and we are the ones who pay for it.”
Another construction worker said, “When we sign a contract, we are not aware of these facilities but the worst part is we have to pay from our pocket when something goes wrong. Nobody takes the responsibility.”
Although when their contractor was contacted, he said,“ We are not aware of the health camps facility but we make sure that the workers visit a doctor when they’re injured or need any help.”
BBMP came up with a set of bylaws in 2003 and later updated in 2017 that ensured the safety and provided health facilities to workers who are involved in construction or other laborious jobs in different sites.
Dr Shiv Shankar, from Rajarajeshwari Hospital explained why weekly health camps are necessary for construction workers.
“A few of the major health risks are diabetes, hypertension and tuberculosis. When the workers shift their home, the change in food habits tend to affect them the most. The camps are necessary because if they go to a general doctor, they have to go through a long process before the doctor finally identifies the problem but the health camps are instant and can provide them aid instantly.”
An Official from the Health Department of BBMP said, “Although the weekly health camps for workers were planned and announced, we have not been able to implement it till date.”
He added, “Usually the labor association takes care of the workers and their health facilities but the problem lies in the registration. There are several laborers who are on duty but have not been registered by the contractors and that is why they are deprived of the facilities.”
Dr Shankar said, “There are times when the workers neglect their health but the weekly health camps will help them notice their medical problems and get proper aid. In fact, most of the workers and laborers are smokers or alcoholics who don’t get proper medical attention. Apart from major injuries, the workers need medical attention but it’s ignored as they don’t get weekly health camps.”