Labourers who have built the circuit for Formula One's inaugural Indian Grand Prix this weekend are living in destitution at their workplace, without shelter, sanitation or, they claim, the pay they were promised.
Within sight of the undulating roof of the grandstand at the £130m Buddh International Circuit in Greater Noida, Uttar Pradesh, 13-year-old Raj Kumari, who has carried stones to make approach roads, is living with her parents in a tent made of salvaged plastic sheets.
"Working here and living here is difficult," she said.
The Guardian found nearly 50 labourers and their young children on Friday at the makeshift camp where they have been living for the last two months. The dozen or so shelters are only a few hundred metres from the main gates. Almost all are illiterate migrant workers from poor rural communities in the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh.
The workers said that contractors who supplied the Jaypee Group, the circuit's owner, with labour to build the circuit – where 120,000 spectators are to watch the event on Sunday – have only paid them enough to cover basic living expenses for six months. They claim they were promised 120 rupees (£1.53) a day when they were hired.
"Whenever we ask, we are given another date and told to wait," said Ratiyah Manapyare, who lives with his three children, aged one, five and eight, in a tent. "Of course we'd like to send the children to school but how can we?" .
The labourers said they have been working seven days a week, from 8am to 5pm with an hour's break around noon.
Summer temperatures on the flat agricultural land around Delhi where the circuit has been built and where the workers live can reach 45C.
"We were promised clothes and something to make a shelter but we got nothing," said Manapyare. "The water is not clean."
The labourers said they were eating only bread and vegetables and used the fields around the tents as toilets. Their water comes from a single hand pump.
"A lot of us have got sick, with fevers and similar things. We just go to the local doctor. No one has offered to take care of us," said Sheikh Lal Dayali, 30.
The motor racing circuit has been controversial. Though many see the hosting of the event as a mark of India's growing wealth and power, others say it highlights the increasing inequality in the country.
Judges recently questioned the logic behind a tax break developers received from a local government keen to boost economic activity and bring in investment.
State officials in Uttar Pradesh hope the circuit will kickstart development of the 150-mile stretch of scrub, farmland, poor villages, small towns and rubbish-strewn wasteland between Delhi and the city of Agra, home to the fabled Taj Mahal.
But local villagers described a harsh history of land disputes and resettlement tied to development of the circuit. Hundreds of students have been cut off from schools and have dropped out of education as a result, they say. Promised jobs have not yet appeared, the villagers said. Others complain a colonial-era law that allows the government to force farmers to sell land for development "in the public interest" has been wrongly used to obtain land for the track. Protests are planned for this weekend.
Askari Zaidi, a senior director and spokesman for the Jaypee Group, said he was unaware of the conditions of the workers interviewed by the Guardian and could not comment specifically about their claims.
"We do make every possible effort to ensure the wellbeing of the workforce. We ensure lunch, morning tea, proper breaks, transport and so on and normally that has been happening without problem. The work has been going on here for more than two years and we have had no problems of this kind." He said the company would investigate.
Thousands of labourers have been employed on the site and there have been no reports of complaints from others. Many have been housed in specially built secure compounds with washing and eating facilities. Most are migrant workers. Construction firms routinely use a chain of contractors to source labour, making monitoring of pay and conditions complex.
The labourers interviewed by the Guardian had little idea of the purpose of the construction they had helped build. As flies crawled over a basic lunch of rice and thin lentil curry, one pointed to helicopters flying towards the track. "It's for some kind of race, I think," he said.