At Ahmedabad Construction Site, Parents Tie Toddler To Rock While They Work

Ahmedabad Labour Toddler Parents Migrants
There are about 40 million construction workers in India, at least one in five of them women, and the majority poor migrants who shift from site to site, building infrastructure for India's booming cities.
  • Do this for her safety at construction site, says child's mother
  • Activists say there should be creche facilities for labourers' children
  • Of nearly 40 million construction workers in India, one in five is a woman

AHMEDABAD : Fifteen-month-old Shivani tugs at a plastic tape her mother has wrapped around her leg and tied to a rock at a building site in Ahmedabad. Barefoot and caked in dust, the toddler spends nine hours a day in temperatures over 40 degrees Celsius, attached to the 4.5-foot tape marked “caution”.

Sarta Kalara, her mother, says she has no option. She and her husband work for Rs 250 each (3.70 dollars) a shift, digging holes for electricity cables.

“This site is full of traffic, I have no option. I do this for her safety. My younger son is three and a half so he is not able to control her,” said the 23-year old.

Ahmedabad Labour Toddler Parents Migrants

There are about 40 million construction workers in India — at least one in five of them women. The majority are poor migrants, who shift from site to site, building infrastructure for India’s booming cities. It is not uncommon to see young children rolling in the sand and mud as their parents carry bricks or dig for new roads or luxury houses.

Many such families live in tents on site or, like Shivani’s, bed down in the open at night.

Prabhat Jha, head of child protection at Save the Children India, said crèche facilities were rare, and need payment. “There should be crèche facilities, either from the government or the construction companies. There should be a safe place for these children. They are at real risk of being hurt,” Mr Jha said.

Ahmedabad Labour Toddler Parents Migrants

While Shivani is tied to her rock, men pause for coconut and water amid the searing heat as mothers take quick breaks to feed their kids.

Parents said their children usually stay with them until they are seven or eight years old. Then they are sent to live with grandparents in poor tribal villages in a neighbouring state.

Holding Shivani as the plastic tape dangled from her leg, Kalara said managers turn a blind eye to her plight. “They don’t care about us or our children, they are only concerned about their work,” she said.

© Thomson Reuters 2016


  1. Today, I went to the beach with my kids. I found a sea shell and
    gave it to my 4 year old daughter and said “You can hear the ocean if you put this to your ear.” She put the shell to her
    ear and screamed. There was a hermit crab inside and it pinched her ear.
    She never wants to go back! LoL I know this is completely off topic but I had to tell someone!

  2. What sort of development is this, when all the kids do not have decent enough healthy brought-up? Hope the government cares enough for the downtrodden & underprivileged? How can we be Vishwaguru, with turning blind eye to the plight of weaker sections? Hope we borrow a page or two from the child-welfare of Nordic countries like, Norway & Sweden!

  3. The Contractor can make a small shaded area on the site, where in these toddlers can have restricted movement.

  4. I feel sorry to read some posts, here trying to blame aap / bjp/ reporters ….this issue is not solely for the government to resolve. .It is indeed a necessity that the government /construction companies/ private organizations take steps to maintain safety at construction site not only for laborers but also their families. But……the question here is …till such a reform takes place …what do we do.
    we have seen this day in and out at every other road in our country , where there is construction on.
    have you ever reported such an event to local corporator to bring to his notice??? Today some reporter spotted this and made this news , but we all see this everyday , how come we never wanted to do anything about it?
    Have you ever thought if you as an individual can do anything about this? if no, then you have no rights to blame the system , government , the poor laborers or the construction company.

    I am associated with an institute who gathers such children , gives them education / takes care of them on hourly basis / at no cost from the poor parents , but work on donations and lending hand from generous volunteers. This institute is small , and today caters to only 18 children from the street . what is important is the vision and perseverance of the this humble gentle named Anand , who without any ngo / institute backing , no monetary support , started this with sheer will and honesty .
    Hope a lot many more people like Anand get together to help these children to maintain health, hygiene and safety .

  5. Can someone local provide a crib or kids fence to this family, so the child can play safely inside.

  6. There is nothing to feel ashamed about it will take time to provide child care, in the mean time children has to be safe so child is tied up but not his movement he can play about in safe distance where he does not get hurt and fall in hole etc.
    Every one is saying Modi did not do anything did citizens have asked themselves what did they do? did they try to educate poor people and educate them about family planning? we do not want to do anything expect that government must do anything and every thing. Family planning is the need of the day as India is overflowing with population. Does Modi have a ” magic wand” so he can make everything proper in 2 years the 62 years of rotten India? Did any one ever question Congress government? instead of worshiping Fake family?

  7. RSS/BJP Chaddis are criticizing the reporter instead of the authorities who are not provinding creches for poor working mothers. This is the real Gujarat Model where the poor are left to fend for themselves and anyone who dissents is brow-beaten into silence.

  8. There should be provision for child care facility either from the government or from the construction companies. The cost of such facility should also be added in the cost of making the building.

  9. This is the sad state of affairs in the country where migrant labour force is there. Instead of explaining the plight, it is only fair that you should also suggest solution than mere reporting. Poor mother, what can she do in such conditions when two square meals a day itself is at stake ?

  10. Its curse to born poor seems in our country. They don’t have choices like many of us had. It’s bitter reality and painful for both baby and their parents.

  11. How come no comment? Very sad situation! I wish ngo opens day care for such needy kids. Mothers would feel so relieved with theor babies looked after in the day care. Any NGO there?

  12. There is nothing wrong. While parents can work at the same time, they can ensure their children are safe. Please NDTV don’t add spice and masala in each story we know you do not have good reporting left.

  13. Such a pity that children has to grow up in harsh conditions and salute to the struggle of these poor people who had to work in spite of any support and hope. It is not a question on any single person, govt or organization. It is just that the humanity failed on the ground while the world is advancing to space and digital future.

    • How nice of you… rest are trying to blame the govt… asking CM PM to do something… while you are ready for action… thanks bro. you are an inspiration.

  14. What a pity my heart goes to these kids and mothers govt should take some action about this problem

  15. what can they do? poverty… its better than being hungry, cause we all know, the society is not treating everyone same.
    blame it on govt.

  16. My heart pounds for this poor children in India.
    I wonder where is humanity!
    I sincerely think people young and elder have to cultivate a volunteerism mindset to help these defenseless poor children.
    Every minute a child dies out of poverty and for no fault of the child, especially when this could be easily avoidable if wealth is distributed among the rich, upper and poor classes.

  17. Felt horrible to read this. I wish the CM and PM do something urgent before any mishap occurs….

  18. Wow! Incredible India – I hope the builders setup a small nursery and hire a teacher for the future taxpayers of the country.

  19. Modi should provide day care facilities for all the Gujrat workers. Arvind Kejriwal is providing in Delhi. BJP won’t do anything for Gujrat and AAP will do everything for Gujrat.

  20. Generally our child care is poor and it gets worse for working mothers. Poor and rich have different laws and progress is measured by how rich are getting richer. If one is born to poor and backward caste mother more than likely that toddler will end up with a rope tied to a rock and chewing mud.

  21. Why such a hue and cry about it…. It is a common way mothers use to control their children while they are at some task..
    My sis-in-law ties her 11 month baby at home while he is on bed so he does not fall from the bed while she is preparing her food or doing house chores…
    Agreed 8-9 hours is a lot of time but these fellas have to make their earning…. They cant afford a child care center like most working women.

    Even Yashoda Maiya once tied Krishna in his early days…. maybe as a punishment but to make sure he does not make mischief or go beyond a limit.

    • temperature of 40 is the problem my friend. imagine urself being tied up in that heat. please think through when the article is published.

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