Railways to create over 1.1mn man-days work for migrants in 6 states
Indian Railways plans to speed up infrastructure projects and generate around 1.16 million person-days of employment this financial year for migrant workers who have returned home to six states since the lockdown for the coronavirus disease was enforced on March 25.
Work on railway infrastructure projects is returning to the previous year’s level, railway board chairman VK Yadav told Hindustan Times. The plan to accelerate the construction of infrastructure is targeted at Bihar, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh.
The national transporter plans to utilise the entire capital expenditure budget it has been allocated this year, according to Yadav, who said infrastructure building had already started picking up. Indian Railways has a capex budget of Rs 1.61 lakh crore for financial year 2020-21.
The railroad network has employed migrant workers in states where the maximum number of such workers have returned, and already generated more than 380,000 person-days of employment in the past four weeks, he said.
“That is helping us to expedite our infra projects. Our infrastructure work has really started picking up and we have almost reached previous year’s level,” Yadav said.
According to railway ministry data, Uttar Pradesh has generated the maximum employment of 140,000 person-days followed by Bihar and Madhya Pradesh.
The national carrier has raised its earlier target of generating 800,000 person-days of employment for migrant workers in infrastructure projects worth Rs 1,800 crore over 125 days, until 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 Bihar, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh for the ambitious employment-cum-rural public works programme launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on June 20. The PM said Rs 50,000 crore would be spent on building durable rural infrastructure under the initiative.
“There are several projects identified across these states where the labourers have been deployed. We require unskilled labourers too for a lot of construction work. We want to expedite projects in these states. There is a nodal officer in each state supervising this and we monitor and prepare a weekly report,” a ministry official said, requesting anonymity.
The ministry of railways is also considering generating employment under the government’s flagship rural job guarantee scheme for minor construction works. Indian Railways is also in talks with states to get back labourers for construction work on its biggest infrastructure projects—the dedicated freight corridors, HT reported on July 5.
The project implementation agency, the Dedicated Freight Corridor Corporation of India Limited (DFCCIL), which had been left with about 50% of its workforce after the lockdown for Covid-19 was enforced on March 25, has begun the process of getting back nearly 20,000 labourers. DFCCIL has sought help from state governments including those of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Jharkhand to arrange workers for the Rs 81,000 crore project, scheduled to be completed by 2021. DFCCIIL has begun booking special trains in bulk and deploying buses to get the workers back.