Several highways projects, including construction of half a dozen flyovers in various parts of the city and road widening, were hit by labour shortage ever since the lockdown was enforced on March 24 to prevent the spread of the COVID-19.
“Migrant workers were the backbone of the construction sector in the city. With their return to native place following the pandemic, the works were severely affected in the city,” said a senior official of the Metro wing of the highways department. He noted that unavailability of the local workers from the districts came as a major blow.
“With the COVID cases steadily rising in the city, workers from the districts were reluctant to come for work fearing that they might get affected too. Hence, the works are progressing in a sluggish pace,” the official added. A contractor of a flyover project in the city said that the road contractors were facing a steep loss due to slow progress of the work. “We are ready to pay high wages to the local workers in the absence of low-wage migrant workers but they are refusing to come to work. Hence we are trying to bring back the migrant workers who returned to their native places. Most of them are ready to return as they don’t have work there,” the contractor noted.
The contractor said that due to the shortage of workers, the flyover project which supposed to be completed in a six months’ time might take double the time.