Government construction agencies, contractors concerned about migrant workers heading home

NEW DELHI: Amid reports from some states urging migrant workers to stay behind, government Construction agencies like NHAI and CPWD and even private contractors are concerned about the large amount of heading home, which could affect work on the sites after the closure is lifted.

A major transporters entity, AIMTC, on Saturday said migration of drivers and labourers facilitated by the government could result in major manpower crisis in the near future.

Several engineers and contractors said that if there is a large-scale exodus of migrant workers, the start of work at the sites would be adversely affected. They generally said that when migrant workers return home, they don't come within months and now it's an extraordinary situation.

“Workers who couldn't go home were ready to start work instead of being inactive. They have been expressing their desire to meet their relatives or to be with sick parents during this time of crisis. Obviously, they would like to go home. But you can't build roads without workers, said a senior executive at a highway company.

(NHAI) officials also admitted that once the workers return to their villages, it is highly unlikely that they will return in the next three to four months. Labor is needed at the site where the work is done, an official said.

Union Roads Minister Nitin Gadkari had recently said that bringing back migrant workers will be the toughest task while urging factory owners to give priority to provide work to such persons who play a key role in economic activities in urban centres. He had said both government and private players would have to offer something to keep people back at work sites and bring back those who had left.