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IIT Gandhinagar launches welfare measures for migrant labourers

May 4, 2020

Indian Institute of Technology Gandhinagar (IIT Gandhinagar) has joined hands with Central Public Works Department (CPWD) to launch a series of welfare measures for the benefit of migrant laborers working in the construction projects at the Institute.

The institute has been at the forefront of construction worker welfare since its inception in 2008. In the wake of COVID-19 pandemic, it has stepped up its efforts to ensure the health, safety and well-being of around 800 construction workers involved in construction activities on campus. IIT Gandhinagar constituted a ‘Shramik Kalyan Samiti’ (Labor Welfare Committee) to interact, educate and help construction workers fight against the pandemic

The Institute volunteer groups regularly sensitize the workers and create awareness about preventive measures against COVID-19, such as frequent hand wash and social distancing. Breathing techniques have been explained to the laborers. All the workers’ colonies are equipped with a first aid box.

Prof. Sudhir Jain, Director, IIT Gandhinagar, said, “All the workers were paid wages for the month of March and the Institute is coordinating with the CPWD and contractors to ensure payment of wages for the month for April as well. IIT Gandhinagar volunteers are in constant touch with the laborers regarding their essential needs. The CPWD ensures the supply of essential grains and also handles distribution of cooked food in the workers colonies. Two CPWD officials meet and counsel the laborers every alternate day.”

Some of the other measures launched by IIT Gandhinagar include:

  • Under the aegis of ‘Shramik Kalyan Samiti,’ the institute has launched a fundraising drive to provide support for construction workers and their families, while they are confined in the labor colonies due to sudden discontinuity of work. 
  • IIT Gandhinagar is providing free medical support and consultation to construction workers in its medical center. A free screening test of all workers was done in the workers housing colony. It also provides ambulance services to workers needing medical examination or treatment.
  • As workers were facing challenges in recharging their mobile phones due to the lockdown and as it is the only way for them to keep in touch with their family in their hometowns, the Institute is recharging the balance in mobile phone of construction workers with a 28-day validity plan through ‘Shramik Kalyan Samiti.’

Elaborating on the fundraising for labourers, Prof Gaurav Srivastava, Dean of Campus Development, IIT Gandhinagar, said, “The fundraising is being led by our alumnus Mr. Akash Keshav Singh and is being coordinated through ‘Nyasa’ – a student-run social outreach programme of IIT Gandhinagar that engages with construction workers and their families on a regular basis.”

The Nyasa volunteers also distributed sanitary napkins to the women in construction workers’ colonies and guided them about the importance of maintaining menstrual hygiene. The Shramik Kalyan Samiti has also distributed cloth masks, made with the help of locally trained village women, to the construction workers.

The labourer colonies and frequently-touched surfaces are regularly disinfected. The institute ensures that soaps and water are available in toilet blocks/wash basins of these colonies at all times. Hand wash has also been placed in labor camps at various places.

Welfare of construction workers on IITGN campus is among the most far-reaching community outreach activities of the Institute. It ensures that they get pukka housing units with water supply, electricity, LPG connection and clean sanitation facilities.

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