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Migrant labourers not paid, bosses engage in blame game

Subcontractor Joginder says he is yet to get money from the contractor to pay the workers.

Published: 22nd April 2020 05:49 AM  |   Last Updated: 22nd April 2020 05:49 AM   |  A+A-

A few migrant workers who haven’t received two months’ salary protesting at Ayanambakkam in Chennai on Tuesday; food being prepared for migrant labourers and corporation workers at a community hall near Powerhouse in Chennai on Tuesday | DEBADATTA MALLICK / R Satish babu

Express News Service

CHENNAI: Days after Express reported how migrant labourers engaged in construction work at a site in Ayanambakkam have been left high and dry without their wages being paid, a few of them were given one-month salary. Many others, however, are yet to get paid. The developers, contractors, and sub-contractors are now engaged in a blame game, with none taking the responsibility for paying the money.

Thirty-three year old Bhagirathi, a carpenter from Chappra district in Bihar and a father of two, said he was paid the salary for the month of February and it was a huge relief. But many of his colleagues have been left in the lurch. Twenty-eight-year-old Krishnakumar from Chattrapur in Madhya Pradesh said his contractor Joginder did not pay him the salary for February and March.

“I had taken a loan of `60,000 to `65,000 for my marriage. Now these people call me often asking me to pay back the money. The officials here are only making promises. They are not releasing the cash. Even my parents and wife are worried. At least they could have made arrangement for us to go back home as no work is happening,” he rues.

Subcontractor Joginder says he is yet to get money from the contractor to pay the workers.The developer who pays the contractor told Express that they have a monthly credit-cycle and payment has been made to the contractors.“These contractors are responsible to the workers they hired. It is not the responsibility of developers. Despite this we are providing the migrant workers with food allowance,” the developer said.

It is learnt that the contractor makes a huge profit by supplying the workers. “They should have worked out an alternative for difficult times. I  have to pay my employees at this difficult times. I can’t say that the EMIs are not being paid so I won’t pay them. The responsibility lies solely on the contractors. They are using this to blackmail us,” he says.

Kumar says around 300 workers protested for two hours following which a police officer intervened and held talks with the supervisor who promised to that the issue will be sorted out within a week.“Now we are hoping that we are paid the salary after a week. Most of our families are in distress,” says Kumar.


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