BTPS work, industry hit by exodus of migrant workers

Migrant workers take a break by the roadside during their long walk to their native place hundreds of kilometres away on the outskirts of Khammam on Monday.   | Photo Credit: G_N_RAO

Many industries, including the granite and allied units, besides the ongoing power and other major projects are staring at labour shortage as the stranded migrant workers have started returning to their native States following relaxation of lockdown.

As the industry is bracing for the ripple effects of the coronavirus lockdown, the exodus of the migrant labourers particularly the skilled and semi-skilled workers has become a major cause of concern for resuming production in the weeks ahead.

A little over 30,000 migrant workers of the total estimated 42,581 stranded migrant workforce comprising industrial, construction and farm workers in Khammam district had already returned to their home States over the last couple of days, according to official estimates.

Most of the remaining displaced migrant workers have registered their names with the officials to go back to their native States.

The granite units, including the small-scale polishing, slab and tiles factories, are among the most affected by the lockdown as they engage skilled manpower, mostly from other States and who are desperately trying to go back to their homes.

Coronavirus lockdown has also affected construction work of the 4 x 270 MW (1,080) Bhadradri Thermal Power Station (BTPS) near Manuguru in Bhadradri-Kothagudem district. Of the total around 2,500 migrant workforce, nearly 500 migrant workers have already gone back to their native States, sources said.

With many migrant workers inclined to back home to their families, the officials are finding it tough to convince them to stay back, sources said. The need of the hour is to mitigate the woes of the stranded migrant workers to instill confidence in them, said CITU Khammam district general secretary K. Venkateshwara Rao.

The government must take urgent steps to uphold the constitutional safeguards of the migrant workers as enshrined in the Inter-State Migrant Workmen (Regulation of Employment and Conditions of Service) Act, 1979, he said.

An immediate financial relief of ₹ 7,500 be disbursed to each migrant worker and necessary arrangements be made to ensure their safe return to their native places to enable them meet their kith and kin in these difficult times, Mr. Rao demanded, saying such concrete measures would motivate them to come back.

When contacted, BTPS Chief Engineer Balaraju said about 1,500 labourers are presently working at the BTPS construction site.

The civil, mechanical and other works have restarted a few days ago as per the relaxation of lockdown norms. The first unit of the BTPS is expected to attain the Commercial Operation Declaration (COD) by this month-end.

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Printable version | Aug 1, 2021 8:02:42 AM |

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