I need steps to get the workers back: Gadkari

NEW DELHI: Admitting that returning workers to workplaces and factories will be a difficult task, Union Minister Nitin Gadkari has said that both the government and private companies should take confidence-building measures to for migrant workers to return to work.

At a recently held review meeting on preparing to resume road construction work, NHAI officials told the minister that they had identified sites where large numbers of workers are still staying in camps and work can begin quickly.

Similarly, medium and small-scale entrepreneurs are trying to move their workforce to facilities outside of crowded areas.

The government has indicated that even if the closure is prolonged, there will be some relaxations, including the resumption of limited manufacturing and construction activities.

The sources said that even an empowered group of secretaries has suggested that industrial production should be allowed to resume in areas located in green and amber zones. He has suggested that normal logistics supply can only occur when there is production of essential items and others as well.

Speaking to a group of reporters via video conference from his Nagpur residence on Saturday, Gadkari said thousands of workers leaving the cities are a serious concern. He said it is up to state governments and local administration to develop a framework to encourage them to return to work.

In response to a question from TOI, the minister said: The infrastructure sector will attract foreign funds and the government's priority is to launch infrastructure development activities to generate employment and boost economic activities.

On life after Covid-19, Gadkari said: “We have learned many things from this crisis. We must manufacture more of those items that we need here and also build an export market. We can take the place of other countries that are the main exporters of those items.