BY AUGUSTO RODRIGUES
“The bamboo that was holding the shuttering on which a slab was being prepared gave way and all the workers engaged in the concreting work on top fell down. They were all discharged yesterday,” said a worker at the site of Laurus Enclave in Mapusa as he washes himself with water flowing from a pipe.
Sunday being a holiday, traffic was low and with most shops and offices around the construction site closed it was the few people out on the weekend who were witness to the crash.
“There was no loud sound. I heard a thud and looked around and it was the shouts of the workers that gave me an indication of where the sound came from. Fortunately, there was hardly anyone below. Most of the workers were on top and tumbled down with the concrete,” recounted Shiva, a daily wage worker who hangs around the place on Sundays.
“My colleagues got some scratches and cuts on different parts of their bodies since they fell from a height of about ten meters. None of them was trapped below the debris and we expect to restart work within a few days,” said a worker from the site.
“The fault is that of the contractor and architect for not checking the quality of the equipment used for construction and not providing safety equipment to the workers. Builders find safety equipment expensive,” stated a businessman in the vicinity of the accident, preferring his anonymity.
“Hardly any contractor provides workers with safety equipment in Goa. Helmets, gloves and boots should be compulsorily provided but no one bothers and I say no one including inspectors from factories and boilers whose duty it is,” added the businessman.
“We had almost completed the work on top. There were around four meters left when the bamboo gave way. I really don’t know how many bamboos holding us gave way but we are lucky nothing much happened to us as we were around ten meters on top. Many of us actually slid down with the material,” is how one of the affected workers described the event.
“We were immediately helped by the other colleagues and only those who were bleeding profusely and the ones who suffered fractures were taken to hospital,” explained another worker as they relaxed in the vicinity of the site.
Some of the material used for concreting fell on the roof of a shop next to the site of the construction which was closed, it being a Sunday.
“I do this work for a living and I cannot allow an accident to distract me from my work. I have a family to feed and despite what is said about safety, I have to continue work because I get food by doing this,” said another worker that showed his grazed elbows and a wound on his leg.
“Yes, I will start work as soon as we are told. I would have started work today if asked. Accidents are part of any work but it also shows us that we are cared for by others through help received,” concluded a worker whilst admitting the unexpected holiday is an occasion for an afternoon drink.