Hire locals for work on Metro, other infra projects: ThackerayUpdated: Jun 30, 2020 00:52 IST
Chief minister Uddhav Thackeray on Monday directed the authorities to employ locals for the construction of Metro and other infrastructure projects that are stuck due to a shortage of labourers. Owing to the complete lockdown between March and May, several migrant labourers working on key infrastructure projects in Mumbai and surrounding areas went back to their home states.
Thackeray held a meeting with Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) commissioner RA Rajeev, chief secretary Ajoy Mehta, and other senior officials about the projects stuck due to lack of manpower. “Local people should be given employment immediately where Metro and other infrastructure projects are stuck due to lack of labourers,” a statement from the chief minister’s office (CMO) said quoting Thackeray.
However, officials said it may not be easy to replace migrant labourers with locals, as they need certain skill set and training for these jobs.
In Mumbai, construction of six Metro lines, including an underground corridor, is underway. Of the six projects, MMRDA is working on five corridors.
Senior MMRDA officials said the work on Metro lines has not been halted, but is proceeding at 30% efficiency. Officials said around 1,000 labourers have re-joined work this month, and they expect another 1,200 to come in July to start work on Dahisar east-Andheri east (Metro 7), Wadala-Ghatkopar-Thane-Kasarvadavli (Metro 4), and Kasarvadavli-Gaimukh (Metro 4A) lines.
“Since excavation and other works on ground are halted during monsoon, the requirement [of labourers] is relatively less, but right now the availability is scarce. If labourers do not return by July, we will have to hire more [labourers] through contractors. The contractors are saying more labourers will come in July, but we are not sure considering the rise of Covid-19 cases in Mumbai and its surrounding areas,” an official said, requesting anonymity.
Another official said, “As per the directives of the CM, we will inform the contractors to hire locals immediately. But the issue is we cannot replace labourers with other labourers. There are certain skill sets and training required to handle these jobs.”
Thackeray also asked MMRDA and the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) to coordinate well during monsoon. He directed MMRDA to clear debris at construction sites and regularly drain pits so that there is no spread of diseases or any untoward incident.