Harvesting of rabi crops, which starts from March is a fairly common phenomenon across the country. But this time around when the winter harvests started in Bihar, its ripple affect was felt in Delhi, host to the prestigious Commonwealth Games in October this year.
With most construction workers, hailing from Bihar, heading back home for rabi or winter harvests in April, work on one of the key Commonwealth Games project - readying accommodation for games delegates and tourists - has been running way behind schedule. It was to be completed by June end.
Now, the Delhi Development Authority (DDA), the city's largest land development agency, which was tasked to convert 3179 of its upcoming flats in Vasant Kunj, an upscale locality in south-west Delhi and Jasola in south Delhi to service apartments, is frantically hunting for construction workers from states like West Bengal and Orissa to complete the project on time.
"Though the structure is ready, finishing work inside the flats is yet to be completed and this takes time," said an Urban Development Ministry official on conditions of anonymity.
Of the 8,000 construction workers at the two sites, presently only 2,500 are working. This has resulted in a huge shortfall, which is delaying the completion.
"It's a common phenomenon in the construction industry that workers go back home during the harvest season. They start coming back by July. But DDA should have factored this in before starting the project. Its another example of skewed planning by the agency," said the official.
The delay has set alarm bells ringing in the government. The issue came up in the Group of Ministers meeting recently where a contingency plan was worked out.
"As part of this, DDA has been asked to hire workers from states like West Bengal and Orissa. Also they have been asked get workers from other Commonwealth Games project sites where work has been completed. We are hopeful that the project would be completed before October," said a ministry official.