Bengaluru, the city of contrasts

Dev Raj and Mahesh came to Bengaluru to make a living. While one is happy the other is returning, dejected.

Dev Raj 45 is a construction worker who left his village in Bihar 25 years ago to make a living. He has worked in cities like Mumbai, Delhi, Jodhpur, Coimbatore and Bangalore. After all these years, he’s going back to his village disappointed with what he has achieved.

Raj has been in Bengaluru for a year now. "I am going home next month and I will not come back. I will work in the fields in my village. Yes, I will earn less but it is far better than living here," said Dev Raj. He earns 200 rupees per day for 9 hours and after that he gets 20 rupees per hour as overtime. He has to pay for food, medicines etc apart from sending home some money.

B. Mahesh, 47, from Chennai has worked in a textile firm before, he has studied till seventh standard. He is happy with his life here in Bengaluru. "I have been working in this factory for the past three months, I am very happy with my job, I am getting the facilities that I never even knew about" he says. Mahesh’s earns 4,000 rupees a month for 8 hours of work per. His job comes with medical insurance, traveling allowance, bonus etc.

Two workers from different states, with similar backgrounds, leading very different lives in Bangalore.

The condition of most of the construction workers is very poor in the city. They have to sleep in the temporary huts built near the construction site; they do not have any toilets, if they have small children they have to keep them at the site. The textile workers lives are less of a makeshift arrangement. But their work conditions in many cases aren’t  any better. They work long hours for lesser pay and many of them don’t have regular leave plans and medical facilities. Sometimes even toilet breaks become a luxury. 

According to the minimum wages act the salary of a construction worker should be at least 135 rupees per day and for a textile worker it has to be 121 rupees per day. In this case Raj does earn more than Mahesh on a per day basis but the former only manages to get work for ten days a month.

Raj who has spent all his life moving from one place to another in search of a good job, because back home he did not had the opportunity, is tired now and will go back to his home not to return again.

For the past fifteen years he has only seen an increase of 100 rupees in a day, which he says is not enough to cope with the growing expenses.

"When I left my village 25 years ago I thought that when I return I will be satisfied with what I achieved in the cities, with what I did for my family. The only thing for which I am going to miss Bangalore for is the weather its very pleasant, back home its very hot," said Raj.

With two cuts on his chest and perhaps several on his dreams, Raj is going back to the place from where his journey began. Mahesh on the other hand is planning to get his family here. Because he says the facilities which he is getting from the factory is sufficient for his family.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Similar Story

Cost concerns limit impact of PM Ujjwala Yojana among poor in cities

Women in low income urban communities share why they haven't been able to switch to clean cooking fuel, despite the hype around Ujjwala.

Chanda Pravin Katkari, who lives in Panvel on the outskirts of Mumbai, applied for a free LPG connection under the PM Ujjwala Yojana one-and-half years ago, but has yet to get a response. She still uses the traditional chulha, most of the time. Chanda and her sister-in-law share the cost and occasionally use their mother-in-law’s Ujjwala LPG cylinder though. “The cylinder lasts only one-and-half months if the three of us, living in separate households, use it regularly. Since we can’t afford this, we use it sparingly so that it lasts us about three months,” she says. Chanda’s experience outlines the…

Similar Story

Bengalureans’ tax outlay: Discover the amount you contribute

Busting the myth of the oft repeated notion that "only 3% of Indians are paying tax". The actual tax outlay is 60% - 70%.

As per a recent report, it was estimated that in 2021-22, only 3% of the population of India pays up to 10 lakh in taxes, alluding that the rest are dependent on this. This begs the following questions: Are you employed? Do you have a regular source of income? Do you pay income tax? Do you purchase provisions, clothing, household goods, eyewear, footwear, fashion accessories, vehicles, furniture, or services such as haircuts, or pay rent and EMIs? If you do any of the above, do you notice the GST charges on your purchases, along with other taxes like tolls, fuel…