Over 150 workers of Gammon India, engaged in Chennai Metro Rail work, refused to work on Friday, citing salary dues.

The workers, an official said, get a salary of around Rs. 8,000-Rs. 10,000, and were yet to receive the salary for April, which should have been paid by May 7.

“A few days ago, the workers who are living in a labour colony in Nandambakkam refused to board the employees’ bus demanding the immediate payment of salary. We have assured them that it will be paid on Saturday,” said a Gammon official.

The official blamed Chennai Metro Rail Limited (CMRL) for a delay in clearing bills. “Only when CMRL clears the bill, we will receive the money to settle the workers’ payments,” he said. He added that such developments have caused minor delays in the project.

However, CMRL officials said the bills had been cleared and the Gammon India office in Mumbai had to approve and release the money.

The workers had gone on strike twice earlier, demanding a pay hike and drinking water facility.

“The workers are supplied water in tanker lorries every day. Rarely, they face water problems. We are negotiating with them on the pay hike issue,” the official added.

The Russian workers, numbering around 100, who are also involved in the project, have not gone on strike so far, the official said.

In November, The Hindu had reported that CMRL had issued a show cause notice to Gammon India as there were delays in the work carried out by them. However, Gammon India attributed the delay to the seasonal rains.

The company, which is also a contractor for Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC), was faced with sanctions following a mishap at a worksite in 2009 when six people were killed. The report of a committee set up by DMRC to probe the incident, indicated deficiencies in the project design. Gammon was then debarred from entering into any new contract for two years, with effect from 2010.

In 2011, Gammon India, in a joint venture with OJSC Mosmetrostroy, was awarded a contract of Rs. 1,947 crore by CMRL. It is involved in the construction of seven underground stations from Government Estate to Saidapet, located over a distance of 6.4 km.

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