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Scarce on skills

SATYAPRAKASH VARANASHI
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Skilled labour is beginning to look for opportunities outside construction sites

No one can refute this statement: more is said than done. It is not just the new ideas but even the conventional ones that are suffering from the challenges of implementation. Skilled labour for either type is in short supply, with majority of younger population shifting to sales, driving, office jobs, restaurants and others. With much lesser hard work and toiling outdoor, they are able to earn equal or greater salary than on building sites.

Passion

Working with natural materials, proper carpentry, un-plastered walls, filler slabs, hollow core walls and such others demand both expertise and interest, which also demand passion with a discerning eye and attitude. Also, with a new work culture coming to stay in cities, clients and architects are increasingly demanding quality construction from the full team at site, be it the mason or the carpenter.

Many labourers try to avoid such responsibilities, quitting the field all together.

Unlike the formal sector, the construction industry is mainly dependant on daily wages, often calculated for a week and settled. So the labourers tend to work for as many days as they wish to earn the basic income and take leave rather frequently.

With wages rising sharply, complimented by certain types of government schemes like own house, rice, health insurance or NREGA job guarantee, many do not bother to work the full month, without which also they can manage the family expenses.

Discontinuity in work schedules becomes a negation of perfection and performance.

No training

The rate of urbanisation has led to prolific construction activity with no real time to train the construction labour, advise better practices or supervise the quality.

After few years of defective workmanship, the worker cannot change his style, so much so that mid-career training is impossible.

Most construction workers in big cities are migrant labourers, with neither exposure nor awareness about perfection or best practice, with hardly any training programme in place. As such, building quality suffers for ever.

We need to identify solutions to this emerging context.

SATYAPRAKASH VARANASHI

Unlike the formal sector, the construction industry is mainly dependant on daily wages and workers put

in only as many days as they

wish to earn

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