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Narratives of Health and Well-being:Migrant Road Workers in the Upper Himalayas

by Anu Sabhlok; H Cheung and Yogesh Mishra

Economic and political Weekly, December 19, 2015

This paper deliberates upon the physical body of labourers as well as their
health and well-being in order to reveal the contradictions in the state’s
discourse of national development and defence. Narratives of and
interviews with the impor ted casual paid labour working on the Manali–Leh
highway as for the Border Roads Organisation show us that illness, death and injury
accompany the dangerous work of building roads in the high altitude of the upper
Himalayas. The “unskilled” or “disposable” labourer is never able to accumulate
additional utility or human capital even after many years of experience. His only
capital—the body—is treated as a disposable and inanimate piece of machinery that
loses its value in order to generate value for the nation.
Courtesy;EPW
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