BENGALURU: The surge in the number of Covid-19 cases in Karnataka is keeping the labour workforce away from the State. A slew of railway projects that depend on workers from various parts of the country, are now progressing at a snail’s pace.
Chief Administrative Officer, Constructions, South Western Railway (SWR), K C Swami, told TNIE, “Construction projects, particularly doubling works, are suffering ever since the national lockdown was announced in March. The work was also affected in April due to a halt on all construction activity. Later, many workers wanted to return to their hometowns.
With the COVID restrictions relaxed and activities getting back to normal in many sectors in the last one month, we expected the workforce to return. However, they are reluctant to do so because of the surge in the number of cases in the State.” Contractors entrusted with various projects have repeatedly tried to bring back the workers but they are unwilling to return at this juncture, he added.
“Our workforce has now shrunk to an average of 1,500 from the 5000-odd figure that existed earlier. A few workers leave and return but the one-third average figure continues to hold good. For some specialised tasks like track laying, only skilled personnel who work in teams can do the job. They work in a synchronised fashion,” he added.
The projects that have been impacted are: the Baiyappanahalli Coaching Terminal, the Hubballi Yard, and the doubling projects in Yelahanka-Makalidurga, Devarapalli-Hindupur-Penukonda, Hubballi-Chikkajajur, Hubballi-Nandayal, Tolahunse-Davanagere and Gadag-Hole Alur.