The long running saga on fencing is somewhat nearing conclusion. The intent to fence was formed in February. Since then delays have plagued the project.
Finding fencing posts took over a month. By the middle of Feb, 07 we had gathered -literally from several places- about 250 posts. I decided to use these to fence in 15 or acres which is a large block of land, where work can begin. The rest of the parts of the site are not central to the wasteland development mission.
Then began entreaties with my point man, Babu Reddiar to get the work done. The poor man did try hard but various delays with workmen occurred. These are chronicled in the March status report. Stii and all, Babu is not above quietly switching from the given word, to a task that he feels is more urgent. Don’t misread me, he is about the best overall, in terms of hopspitality, willingness, facilities, accounting and pleasantness.
Finally we began on the 21st. After two days of work, there were two days of break. Once, Babu took away the team to harrvest and sell his water melons. Then there were breaks for a wedding, waiting for a rice harvesting machine and because a member of the team didn’t show up and so the numbers were not enough. Posts were transported from Babu’s homeyard to the field in a tractor. Each post weighs 50kg and has rough edges. Not an easy object to handle.
Because the JCB had gouged the holes roughly and untidily, they had to be dressed and brought into line. By 9am it is unbearably hot -the summer had arrived. They would begin work at 6am. At 8.30, they had breakfast in the field and then worked steadily till 1.30 or 2, when the day was called. You can’t quarrel with that.
I must have made at least 6 runs from Muttukkadu house or the city apartment during the ten days. I had imagined that Babu having accepted the contract would work steadily and announce to me when the job was done. But being a cautious man, bless him, he would ask that I went over to check to mark lines, the points on the lines, check alignments and generally approve a move.
Even if I made a 6.30am start I’d arrive only when they were having breakfast. On somedays, I’d arrive to find the team had not come at all or dispersed for the day. Soemdays I’d go despite being being told there was no work that day – just to play on their consciences abut the delay. All very disappointing but to be patiently borne. I did get to appreciate how hot the weather was and how hard it is to get anything done to your requirement.
The work progressed scoring between 30 and 40 posts a day. A team of six played an active role. [In the pic from left, A Raju, Duraibabu, Babu Reddiar, Kadhirvelu, Sethumadhavan aka Settu and Sendhil]. Raju is pointReturn staff, whole commutes by bus from Tambaram aboutt 60kM away. Babu of course is the local guardian. The other four are whimsical labourers of Peruveli, who are hard working, when they do show up.