CHENNAI: The migrant exodus, witnessed at the peak of the lockdown phase, has started hurting different sectors. The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) estimates that projects worth Rs 14,410 crore have been hit in Tamil Nadu due to labour shortage.
“This includes the Rs 295 crore worth six-lane road development on a 33-km stretch between Chennai and Tada and Rs 777 crore worth six-lane on the Sriperumbudur-Karaipettai stretch among others,” says NHAI regional manager Pawan Kumar.
It’s not just the roadways, the railways are also facing labour crunch. Track improvement works as well as other important works have been hit due to non availability of manpower, says railway contractor K Venkatesan. Industry sources say the labour shortage can be bridged only after transportation services resume in full swing. The CMDA is also suffering without labour supply, as its project to build a new bus stand at Kilambakkam is being delayed. The project was launched last year.
“Attempts were made by contractors to bring labourers by buses, but it had to be aborted as one of the workers tested positive,” sources told Express. “A few locally available workers have been hired, but it’s not enough. Works are progressing, but slowly.”
It is to be noted that migrant labourers left the State in hordes after the lockdown was imposed, as many of their wages were not paid. Without money, they were evicted from their places of stay. A lot of them went to their native villages, far away in north and east India, by foot or by cycle, as there were no other means.