10 May 2021, Edition - 2127, Monday
Relief for Workers on Construction Sites; As Government Allows Some Construction Activity to Restart
April 16, 2020
Business Wire IndiaThe Government of India has issued an Order which allows stalled construction work to partially resume from 20 April 2020, subject to terms and conditions. The real estate industry acknowledges the positive impact this will have. “Allowing phase-wise reopening of economic activity with precautions being adhered to is the right step, NAREDCO welcomes the decision,” said Dr. Niranjan Hiranandani.
The Prime Minister, having evaluated the situation across the nation, has extended the lockdown to 03 May. “In the fight against COVID-19, the nation acknowledges the seriousness of the situation, and stands with the authorities in this fight,” said Dr. Niranjan Hiranandani.
The lockdown has brought into sharp focus the aspect of ‘life vs livelihood’, the extension has enhanced the ‘difficulty quotient’ when it comes to labor still at construction sites. The sad episode at Bandra (Mumbai) on 14 April bears this out. In a major relief, the Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India by an Order dt. 14 April, under sec 10 (2) (1) of the Disaster Management Act, 2005; has permitted resumption of work on Construction sites w.e.f. 20 April 2020.
The Order lays down three parameters – labor should be at site and not brought from other locations; the site should be within a Municipality or Municipal Corporation limits and the site should not be located within a ‘containment zone’.
NAREDCO and ASSOCHAM had represented to the Government of India about allowing labor retained at construction sites to restart work. This would be a situation where as per norms created by NAREDCO, safety of the labor would be ensured, while they would get some activity that would give the labor who are still at site, a reason to remain on site and not try to return to their villages.
At construction sites across the country, the lockdown resulted in stoppage of work. Labor in most cases, was convinced not to ‘reverse-migrate’ back to their villages, and stay on at the site/labor camp. Their safety, daily requirements in terms of food and wages, as also medical safety vis-à-vis the COVID-19 pandemic have been taken care of by the real estate developers. The period of lockdown has been one where labor gets bored, and seeks to return to their villages where agricultural work is available (the authorities have allowed work in agriculture, subject to precautions being followed). Given this, the Order comes in at the right time, and will ensure that construction labor will be gainfully occupied at the sites they were working on prior to the lockdown being announced.
“The economic drivers of the country will start moving again, even as we extend the lockdown. Considering the estimated loss of Rs. 26,000 crore per day to the Indian economy as a result of the lockdown, this is a positive step and we welcome the move,” Dr. Niranjan Hiranandani concluded.
Dr. Niranjan Hiranandani is President (ASSOCHAM) as also President (National) NAREDCO