Even as the government boasts of hosting the "best Commonwealth Games ever", it is an open secret that the construction workers at the Commonwealth Games sites, whose number is estimated to be over a lakh, have been victims of the most brutal and inhuman exploitation.
These workers are being paid as little as Rs. 110 ($2.40) per day, which is close to half of the mandated minimum wage of 203 Rupees. They have come from thousands of kilometers away from the villages, having been promised housing and rail fare as well as statutory wages and working conditions by the contractors who hired them. The reality has been different. They came in overcrowded trains on their own means. With their little children, the women and men have lived on the sidewalks and construction sites braving the summer heat and the torrential rains, cooking in their makeshift homes, and forced to answer the call of nature in degrading conditions in the open. These are the men and women who have built the sites of the "best Commonwealth Games ever". All of them are being forcibly removed from the city, before the tourists, officials, and sportsmen, the political leaders of the participating countries, arrive in the capital for the Games. The creators of "Shining India" must not be seen, lest they create a bad impression of India in the world.
Over 47 workers have been killed in the course of the work for the Games. There have been several accidents which have gone unreported. Many workers have died when cars and trucks have run over them while they slept in the pavements or were working on night shift.
In the most recent incident, 27 workers were injured, many grievously, when a pedestrian over bridge collapsed near the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium on September 21. The Chief Minister of Delhi and the Union Urban Development Minister sought to pass this off as a "minor incident" and shrug off any responsibility towards the injured workers.
Earlier, the courts, after sleeping over the issue in front of their eyes for over two years, "suddenly" woke up and started asking the government to implement labour laws. This, when it was well known, that working class organisations, had been highlighting for this whole period that the blatant violation of labour laws meant that the workers are not even registered as workers, and there is no question of "implementing" any laws. Your eyes tell you that lakhs of workers are working day and night. The records don’t exist. These workers do not exist. This was known to the judges of the courts in the capital.
Roadside shops and establishments as well as street vendors have been driven off in the name of "keeping the city clean", "security threat" and so on.
Working people livings in slums and resettlement colonies in Delhi and its satellite towns are being harassed by the police and threatened with deportation back to their villages. Many of them have left for their villages as there is no source of livelihood for them here.
Floods have affected large section of the population of the capital along the Jamuna. The government has no concern for the victims of the floods.
The Commonwealth Games are an evidence of the fact that the government has no care for the people at large. It is becoming clear day by day that the hosting of the Commonwealth Games has nothing to do with facilitating sports for the vast majority of our people, but is merely to further the imperialist ambitions of our rulers at the expense of our toiling people