In India's heat, Delhi labourers toil in 'red hot' conditions

NEW DELHI — Working on a highway project in one of India’s hottest areas this summer, Banwari Singh handles iron bars that he says often turn “red hot”.

Temperatures hit 47.8 degrees Celsius last Sunday, among the highest recorded in India this year, in Najafgarh, an area on the outskirts of New Delhi where Singh works.

“This is among the hottest it has been in this area,” Singh, in checked trousers, a half-sleeved shirt, a bright orange safety vest and a hard-top hat, said.

“But we have no option. If we want to eat, we have to work whatever the conditions are,” said the 40-year-old, resting near a pillar he is helping to build.

The northwest of India is experiencing an unusually hot summer and the national weather office has forecast three times the usual number of heatwave days this May. Experts say climate change adds fuel to the heat.

Delhi shut schools earlier this week as temperatures rose. Voters in India’s national election face the prospect of queuing this weekend in the sweltering heat.


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