Construction firms and factories welcomed Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s appeal to migrants to stay back, but said other factors were also stalling work.
Saurav Chakravorty, operations head of SY Associates Pvt Ltd head, a major construction firm in South Delhi, told The Indian Express, “It will take a lot of time for work to resume in full steam at construction sites. While the Delhi government has allowed in-situ construction work to begin, supply chain of construction material needs to be up and running. Residential project sites cannot stock material in large amounts. Building material suppliers, owners of electrical shops, plumbing material shops are finding it difficult to send items.”
“For instance, we are not being able to install lifts in some of our building projects. Moreover, due to the disruption, prices of material have also shot up. Bricks are now costing Rs 9 a piece, up from Rs 5. If the supply chain breaks down, it will be difficult for builders to sustain workers, who would like to go back,” he said.
Jatidner Singh, owner of three factory units at the Jhilmil Industrial Area, said he has managed to resume work at one of his units producing essential items used in the field of medicine.
“I have two other units on garments and electrical items. In fact, the entire Jhilmil Industrial Area is dotted with small-scale manufacturing units. Many workers come from nearby towns and villages in UP in EMU trains (suburban rail service). As inter-state movement remains suspended, they are not able to come. Secondly, the government cannot wash its hands off by issuing long orders asking factory owners and managers to ensure social distancing, hygiene, use of Aarogya Setu app. There needs to be extensive awareness campaigns in these areas,” he said.
Rajesh Kumar, general secretary of the Indian Federation of Trade Union, said workers are struggling to sustain themselves and their families, with many owners depriving them of their wages for March and April.
“The government could have at least extended minimum wages to the accounts of every worker. Instead, hard-earned laws are being diluted. These workers, through their labour, have ensured these units earn profit over the years. Are they not entitled to even their monthly wage?” he said.
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