Engineering companies involved in developing various infrastructure projects of MMRDA in the megapolis are bringing back migrant labourers, who had fled the city amid coronavirus pandemic.
According to Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA), thousands of labourers, who had returned to their villages especially in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and West Bengal, are being brought back by their contractors to ensure speedy completion of the works.
Contractors of the Dahisar East-Andheri East metro 7, including J Kumar, NCCL, Larsen & Toubro, ITDC and Capacite, are taking efforts to get the labourers back from other states, MMRDA said.
"These contractors are getting back the workers mainly by road as the (regular) train services have been cancelled till August 12," MMRDA Joint Metropolitan commissioner BG Pawar said.
Apart from these, many locals from different parts of Maharashtra are also coming to Mumbai following Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray's call to provide employment to 'sons of the soil' in metro and other infrastructure projects, he said.
"As per the CM's direction, we released a requirement of 16,726 workers at different project sites. We have got a good response for this as many locals from different parts of the state are coming on their own," Pawar added.
According to MMRDA, nearly 755 labourers are expected to be brought back from different states in July and so far 115 have already been sourced by the contractors of the metro 7 line.
As many as 386 labourers have been sourced from Maharashtra so far (including those who have come on their own) and another 175 locals will be deployed in July for the project.
Of the 755, a total of 680 labourers are expected to be sourced by J Kumar (275), NCCl (355) and ITDC, which are the main contractors of the project.
Engineering firm L&T, which has bagged the contract for providing traction and auxiliary power supply and SCADA services for the corridor, has already sourced 37 labourers from states outside Maharashtra so far since the lockdown, are likely to get another 25 in July, a data-sheet by MMRDA showed.
Earlier this month, L&T CEO and Managing Director S N Subrahmanyan had said that the company was taking initiatives to mobilise labourers to ensure completion of projects.
"In the pre-COVID (period), we had more than 2.2 lakh labourers across our almost 950 project sites, but today we have around 1.2 lakh working.
"While some labourers who had left during Holi have not yet returned, some have left because of psychological pressures, may be due to pandemic or seeing others leave. We are working out on mobilising these labourers," Subrahmanyan had told reporters.
MMRDA had earlier planned to commission line 7 by December 2020. However, Metropolitan Commissioner RA Rajeev recently said the deadline could be missed by almost 2-3 months because of the extended lockdown and shortage of labourers.
When asked if the measures to bring back the labourers were taken to speed up the completion of the project Pawar said, "Yes, they have to complete the projects. Also, labourers want to come back and work. Therefore, almost all contractors of various projects are sourcing labourers either from Maharashtra or other parts of the country. We are still collating data for other projects".