Stories

Men of flame and smoke

© PRASENJIT
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Men of flame and smoke
India

A worker heating asphalt (bitumen) barrels with an open fire at a road construction site.

City communicators need good roads!!! and to make good road one needs skilled workers.

 

Workers preparing a semi-automatic asphalt mixer…

Dusk… The avenue from a distance is filled with thick dark smoke… as darkness takes its toll and as one approaches the smoke, one gets to see asphalt (bitumen) barrels kept on open wood fire and scruffy figures encircling it.

They are the asphalt road workers from the distance villages of West Bengal, hired  by the government road contractors.Staying on site in tents or temporary make shift with very basic amenities, daily life for them takes toil unnoticed…


Trolley being loaded with the melting mixer of asphalt and, stone chip the two major component

Government laid down safety norms don’t play a prominent role in the lives of these workers, The labour contractors pays little or no attention to the safety features, comparing to the western world.

Many labour faces burn from molten asphalt, the most common accident in road paving. Asphalt Mixer Machine generate toxic smoke, without mask inhaling the smoke is a health hazard, correspondingly the city face the  pollution hazard.

With little or no personal safety gears (a pair of gumboot for the supervisor in certain cases) these workers under all odds building kilometres of asphalt road.


Work hazard…. workers busy extinguishing fire at a road construction site.


Work station


Measurement being taken by a worker, before the asphalt paving being done


The asphalt gang at a busy road repaving the existing asphalt stretch .the temperature of the mix should always remain above 110 °C in order to ensure sufficient time for compaction.


The only safety gear a pair of gloves to handle the skin peeling hot asphalt mixer which is normally 110 degree .

In this modern day scenario the shabby road makers with their skill are an extraordinary phenomenon to watch, shaming some of the modern machinery used in the western world.

Roads through which millions and time travels…


Crack being sealed with a flame blower


Work accomplished – roads through which millions and time will travels


A marquee for the workers.


Job’s done, the accounts on the paved strip.

Prasenjit Dey
the authorPrasenjit Dey
(1973) – The instrument for capturing light was an interesting object in childhood. Youth made me a lover of photography and things took shape when I got myself enrolled into a basic photography course…interest made it prolong into diploma and then into serious exhibiting… Film to censor… darkroom into light room… the more I was rolling the more I was tangled to the love for light and creativity… Photography has been a tool to my imagination and of documentation of the filleting moments of life.

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