Andhra Pradesh

Polavaram works severely hit as migrant workers leave

MEIL says it is trying to resume activity at the earliest

Work on the Polavaram project has been severely hit due to the lockdown as more than 1,000 migrant workers engaged at the work site have left for their home States.

In all, 2,161 workers have been engaged for various works such as spillway, cofferdam and earth-cum-rockfill dam.

The project is expected to supply irrigation water to 7.2 lakh acres of land during kharif and rabi seasons, lift 80 tmcft water to the Krishna and generate 960 MW hydro power.

Megha Engineering and Infrastructure Limited (MEIL) has taken up the works. The government has set a target to complete the project by 2021.

Recently, the migrants from Bihar, Jharkhand, Odisha, Chhattisgarh, West Bengal, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Assam engaged at the site staged protest demanding that they be sent to their native places.

Collector Revu Mutyala Raju, SP Navdeep Singh Grewal, Deputy Labour Commissioner M. Sunitha, and other officials held discussions with them a few days ago and tried in vain to convince them to stay back.

Many workers left the Polavaram village on foot.

‘Target will be met’

Speaking to The Hindu on Wednesday, Polavaram MLA Tellam Bala Raju said the workers promised to return soon. “The works will be completed as per the schedule,” he added. “Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy is monitoring the works regularly. The machinery works are under progress,” Mr. Bala Raju said.

Jangareddygudem Revenue Divisional Officer Y.N. Prasanna Lakshmi said 1,200 workers registered themselves for returning to their home States, 509 of them from Bihar, 93 from Odisha, 80 from Chhattisgarh, and others from Jharkhand, West Bengal and other States.

“The workers were in panic. About 150 workers agreed to stay back. We arranged transport facility for the others,” Ms. Sunitha said.

“We just want to go back to our native places, enquire about the well-being of our family members and return. All will return and resume works soon,” a worker from Odisha said.

MEIL media relations personnel said the company had promised them to pay ₹5,000 per head over and above their wages during the health emergency, besides providing them all facilities. However, they stuck to their demand and majority of the workers left the site, they said.

“We were making efforts to resume work in a full-fledged manner soon,” they added.

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Printable version | May 26, 2020 3:38:56 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/andhra-pradesh/polavaram-works-severely-hit-as-migrant-workers-leave/article31577191.ece

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