From today’s Deccan Herald front page :
In a spine-chilling repeat of the Salman Khan hit-and-run incident, a speeding Toyota Corolla ran over migrant construction workers from Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh, killing six and injuring eight of them, in Mumbai on Sunday morning.
The victims were sleeping in makeshift huts, built on the pavement of a Bandra suburb, when they were run over by the vehicle. Of the persons who were killed, two were children — a five-year-old boy and a seven-year-old girl. Three women had also died on the spot.
Hopefully, this case will not go the way of other similar cases and be blocked from the media’s radar in a week.
That’s not why I’m writing about this though. I’m sure that there will be enough talk about drunk driving, partying late, today’s youngsters, etc. but here’s something else to consider. What were the people doing sleeping on the pavement? They were in huts on the pavement and they were construction workers.
Migrant, construction workers. They build our roads, our buildings, but they have no place to stay, so it’s a hut on the pavement for them. Then, they move on, after creating huge buildings and better roads.
Just take a look at the construction areas near the places where you live–you’ll probably find people living in huts or open areas, cooking on firewood, etc., and once the building’s gone, they go away, presumably to other sites.
It’s not like we don’t need these people–we do. Who else will do the back-breaking, heavy lifting, manual labour kind of work that is part of construction? If you look at the construction sites for big buildings, you’ll see people with hard hats, at least in Bangalore. On the smaller ones, no hats, no gloves, no nothing.
So, they work in unsafe conditions, they aren’t paid too much, they live in temporary places, and once in a while they get mowed down when they’re sleeping. Quite a life if you look at it that way.
We can look at this case as a problem of drunk driving but in doing that we’ll miss the bigger issue of why people are sleeping on the pavement in the first place.
I wonder if people are even asking that question.