Tamil Nadu

Unpaid, Metro’s migrant workers long to go home

The Metro Rail project contractor says the money has been credited to the subcontractor’s account but he has fled the city, according to a worker. File photo  

Thirty-year-old Arvind Singh, a native of Jharkand, has been living off rotis and some vegetables at Wimco Nagar. Day after day, he has been praying for the lockdown to end so he can go back home to meet his 4-year-old son, but he may have to go home empty handed as he hasn’t received his wages.

Like him, many of the migrant workers employed in two projects of Chennai Metro Rail construction — at Wimco Nagar site and Kathipara junction — say they haven’t received their wages for months. “I have been here since January and ever since, I haven’t been paid by the contractor. Every month I was promised about ₹25,000. We have been requesting repeatedly, only in vain,” he says.

At Wimco Nagar, these workers are engaged for construction of a depot for Chennai Metro Rail’s phase I extension project. Umesh Yadav too is employed at Wimco Nagar for four months now. He says the workers get money only that covers their food expenses. “The contractor claims Chennai Metro Rail has paid and that he in turn had handed it over to the subcontractor but we still haven’t got a rupee. How will our families survive if we don’t send them money? The workers’ camp here is fine and someone from Chennai Metro Rail comes to inspect the hygiene and facilities here and we don’t have those complaints. But we need the contractor to pay our wages,” he says. They are all waiting to leave the city as soon as train services resume.

At Kathipara Junction where Chennai Metro Rail has been building an urban square project, one of the contractors has not been paying the workers. Karan Singh came down to the city early in March and worked for a week along with his co-workers but he hasn’t gotten his wages. “The contractor says the money has been credited to the subcontractor’s account but he fled the city. But what are we do to? We will not leave the city until we get our wages,” he adds.

According to officials of Chennai Metro Rail Limited (CMRL), they are not aware of this issue yet. “We have been regularly paying the contractors and there are no dues from our end.”

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Printable version | Dec 6, 2021 2:20:45 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/unpaid-metros-migrant-workers-long-to-go-home/article31544975.ece

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