8 lakh man-days of employment for migrants over 125 days, says railways
The railways says it aims to generate eight lakh man-days of employment for migrant workers in infrastructure projects worth ₹1,800 crore over the next 125 days, till October 31, under the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Rojgar Abhiyaan.
The Centre has identified 116 districts with a large concentration of returnee migrant workers in six states - Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Jharkhand and Odisha - for the government’s ambitious employment-cum-rural public works campaign launched by PM Narendra Modi on June 20.
The Prime Minister had announced that an amount of ₹50,000 crore would be spent for building durable rural infrastructure under the Abhiyaan.
A review meeting for the programme was held by the railway board chairman with all zonal officers and railway PSUs on Wednesday. Railways will appoint nodal officers in all the 116 districts and at the state level, the ministry said.
“Zonal railways have been instructed to expedite execution of all ongoing infrastructure works in these identified districts. Around 160 infrastructure works have been identified which are to be expedited. These would engage thousands of workers and roughly generate eight lakh man-days of employment by the end of October. Approximately, ₹1,800 crore would be spent in these districts,” the ministry said.
A number of railway works have also been identified which can be executed through the MGNREGS, the ministry said.
Hindustan Times on June 12 had reported the ministry of railways is considering generating employment under the government’s flagship rural job guarantee scheme, a move aimed at helping migrants who have returned home in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic and the lockdown imposed to slow its spread. At present, the national carrier mostly employs skilled labourers though private contractors for its construction work.
“The works are related to construction and maintenance of approach roads for level crossings, development and cleaning of silted waterways, trenches and drains along the track, construction and maintenance of approach road to railway stations, repair and widening of existing railway embankments/ cuttings, plantation of trees at extreme boundary of railway land and protection works of existing embankments/cuttings/bridges,” the ministry said.
Zonal Railways have also been instructed to get sanction for proposed works under the MGNREGS. The ministry’s move comes even as the Centre and the states have begun the process of undertaking a comprehensive skill mapping exercise of migrant workers as part of an attempt to find them work closer home.
“The Abhiyaan will be a convergent effort between various ministries/departments of Government Of India to expedite implementation of various public infrastructure works and works relating to augmentation of livelihood opportunities,” the ministry added.