This morning, I stopped at the construction site near our house and asked a few workers standing on the first floor of a new apartment building if they were all okay. They grinned and said no salary all month. I asked how they were managing and they said that the contractor gave them "kharcha" (expenses) so they were not starving.
The contractor gave them 2000 rupees for the entire month and have been eating with that. But no money has been sent home because the money is enough just for their subsistence.
Each person earns 300 rupees daily. So, they have received about a fifth of what they are owed. Can you imagine receiving a fifth of your salary any month? Will you accept it without a fight, in the name of patriotism?
That they still smile and continue to work is not an expression of their desh bhakti, but of years of oppression and helplessness, and consequent resignation to their fate. It is also a result of their lack of understanding of their basic human rights. The unorganized sector is unorganized. They have no unions or leaders to speak for them.
This is sheer exploitation. Not by their contractor, who is a mere pawn too, but by the government and its supporters.
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