Labourers go to their native places to cast their vote

Construction activities in the city have slowed down in the last fortnight as a number of construction workers have gone back to their native places so that they can exercise their franchise in the Lok Sabha elections, thus creating labour shortage, industry insiders say.

Polling in 28 Lok Sabha constituencies in the State will be on April 17.

Labour shortage could affect time-bound projects the most. Bangalore’s construction industry is dependent on labourers from North Karnataka districts, and from Orissa, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh.

“Workers, especially those from North Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu, who had gone home before Ugadi have not returned. Same is the case with those who went home for Ramanavami,” said M. Ramesh, a senior member of the Builders’ Association of India.

“Many people who work as construction labourers participate in local electioneering in their native places and that fetches them good money, but at other times they toil hard at the construction sites to earn their livelihood.”

The agents, who bring the construction workers to Bangalore, play an important role during elections. Traditionally, the political parties have tapped on this agent network to get the voters back to the villages to cast their votes, Mr. Ramesh said.

While this short-term labour shortage may affect most small builders and those building individual homes, according to him, the big developers may be less-affected as they have a large labour force. Besides construction workers, those engaged in tile laying, carpentry and such other work in the city have also gone back to the native places to participate in the Lok Sabha elections, according to construction foreman Mahadevaiah.

Apart from the construction activities, migration of labourers may also affect work at quarries and concrete mixer units, said Mr. Ramesh.

The agents, who bring the construction workers to Bangalore, play an important role during elections.

Traditionally, the political parties have tapped on this agent network to get the voters back to the villages to cast their votes,

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