Pandemic, labour shortage may hold up road work by PWD

The COVID-19 crisis and subsequent exit from the State of a good share of migrant workers have cast uncertainty on the timely completion of pipe and cable-laying and subsequent work to restore and resurface the dug-up roads.

The virus outbreak has come right at the onset of the summer season, when a major chunk of civil works like road and drainage construction are taken up in the State. “Faced with paucity of labour, curbs in connection with efforts to contain the virus spread and in some cases non-availability of raw materials, we may lose the most crucial months of the November-May working season,” said a PWD official.

“We were banking on commencing resurfacing work of Civil Line Road and Vennala-Palachuvadu-Thuthiyoor Road as per BMBC standard, when the crisis struck. The KSEB had dug up many parts of these stretches for laying cables. We had given them a deadline of March 31 to complete their work. Just as in 2019, many road resurfacing works suffered delay due to KSEB and KWA not completing their projects,” the official said.

The pandemic has also hit the GCDA’s works to resurface the Kaloor-Kadavanthra Road, renovate footpaths on either side and to spruce up the Marine Drive walkway. “Contracts for both the works had been awarded earlier this year,” said V Salim, Chairman of the agency.

Acute paucity of funds has added to the Kochi Corporation’s woes, casting doubts on timely completion of critical road and drain works.

“Contractors are frequently going on strikes, since they have not been paid for even works done under plan funds. Luckily for us, metro agencies have fully resurfaced Sahodaran Ayyappan Road, while Subhash Bose Road was recarpeted using restoration funds given by the KWA,” sources in the civic body said.

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Printable version | Apr 7, 2020 1:34:11 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/pandemic-labour-shortage-may-hold-up-road-work-by-pwd/article31147024.ece

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