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Children’s basic rights violated at CWG sites

Yet another black mark against the Commonwealth Games organisers. Children of over 400,000 construction workers at the Games sites are deprived of basic rights like sanitation, schooling and healthcare, said a report released here Wednesday.

The report from NGO Child Relief and You (CRY) is based on observations from some Games sites — Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium, R.K. Khanna Stadium, Talkatora Stadium, Nizamuddin Nallah, Lodhi Road, the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium — and a sample study at the Siri Fort construction site.

“We found children living in the workers’ temporary camps living without quality food, safe water, sanitation, quality formal schooling or daycare, healthcare and a safe environment – basically without a childhood,” CRY director Yogita Verma said.

Children are dropping out of school due to poverty-linked migration to work at the construction sites, the NGO said.

The sample study from the Siri Fort construction site found that none of the children attend school.

“Sanitation facilities are almost non-existent, with mobile toilets in some places not cleaned. There are no facilities for childcare like anganwadis at or near the site,” it highlighted.

“Housing conditions are very poor with tin and plastic sheets being used as housing materials,” it added.

The report, quoting a public interest litigation (PIL) filed in the Delhi High Court, said about 415,000 contract daily wage labourers were working on the six Commonwealth Games venue clusters and five standalone venues.

“We have constitutional obligations to children that must be upheld, not ignored, in the attempt to provide world-class infrastructure for the Commonwealth Games,” Verma said.

CRY has told the Delhi government that special attention must be paid to the needs and rights of children of construction workers, especially to secure housing, drinking water, sanitation, healthcare and education.

In May, the Delhi High Court asked the central and state governments to ensure that workers at building sites in the capital are registered with the Delhi Building and Other Construction Workers Welfare Board (DBCWWB) so that their rights are safeguarded.

The court notice was sent to the New Delhi Municipal Council, the Delhi Development Authority and the Sports Authority of India.

The Commonwealth Games are scheduled to be held Oct 3-14 in the capital.

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