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04 Oct 1989

Everyday, 1900 new people come to Delhi to become its citizens, most of them on a permanent basis. Many of them are migrants from Eastern Uttar Pradesh (purabias), from distant Bihar and from the deserts of Rajasthan.

They offer themselves as unskilled labour, especially in construction work. There are about twelve major centres in the capital where any day in the early morning hours, any one can pick them up as cheap wage labourers. They live on the streets, for long years. But since about 1982 their situation has improved slightly. For, the majestic flyovers built in the wake of Asiad now provide them a roof over their heads. This curious tale of Supreme Court intervention in the case of a custodial death is that of about ten migrant labourers from Rajasthan who offer themselves at the labour market near Naraina flyover and sleep under it.

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