NEW DELHI: Uncertainty looms large over Chandni Chowk beautification and pedestrianisation project as majority of the workers employed at the site have left the city.According to the government officials and contractors associated with the project, non-availability of workforce may result into protracted delay in project completion for which the deadline was revised to May 31.
The work in historic Mughal era shopping hub was at standstill since restrictions was imposed on March 23 in view of coronavirus pandemic. The work couldn’t be resumed even after relaxation was given for in-situ construction activities in third phase.
On Monday, a contractor attempted to recommence the work with five-six workers. “Today, construction of storm water drain was undertaken after which we are planning to lay fire hydrants pipeline. But this can’t be termed as resumption of work. Just six workers were pressed into service. It was a trial just to check whether labourers are willing to work. At present, the contractor has only 50-60 workers at the site,” said an official.
The representatives of government agencies involved in the project had told the contractors to arrange work force to put the project back on the track however with no supervisory staff, foreman, or engineers available in the city, the project might get delayed significantly.“Clear picture will emerge only after May 17. To supervise labourers and construction of various components, teams of supervisory staff, foreman, or engineers are required,” said a representative of a stakeholder of the project.
However, the contractors are apprehensive that more labourers will leave in coming days as they get opportunity to travel back to their native places. There were at least 200 people were working at the site before the lockdown.
According to the agencies, privy to the development, no component of the project is complete. Concretisation of surface, granite work, storm water drains, and fire hydrants pipeline are various stage of completion from 60% to 80%, said an official.
The officials administering the project said because of uncertainty over continuation of the restrictions, it is difficult to make prediction about deadline for completion of work. “The project would have been completed by its original deadline of March 31. The break has slowed the progress. We are not sure how long this condition will continue. Fixing a deadline doesn’t make any sense at this point,” said an official.
The action at the site was halted earlier when the Supreme Court put a ban on construction in Delhi-NCR to control air pollution levels.