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Telangana suffers shortage of construction workers

Telangana suffers shortage of construction workers
Highlights

Planning to build a house? Be prepared to pay extra wages as there is a severe shortage of construction workers in the city. A cursory glance at the addas (points where labourers assemble in the morning) where construction workers are picked up by contractors is an indicator of the shortage.

Planning to build a house? Be prepared to pay extra wages as there is a severe shortage of construction workers in the city. A cursory glance at the addas (points where labourers assemble in the morning) where construction workers are picked up by contractors is an indicator of the shortage. For instance, the adda at Boosa Reddy Guda in Secunderabad, where more than 100 workers used to gather, now wears a deserted look. There are hardly 30-40 workers.

  • Migrant workers from Ongole and Srikakulam districts who used to travel to Hyderabad for work are now getting engaged in projects closer home-in Vijayawada and Visakhapatnam
  • Local labourers prefer work under PMRY scheme as it pays more for less hours of work

Construction labourers in the city mostly travel from Srikakulam and Ongole districts. But post-bifurcation, the migration has decreased considerably. “Even in the days of construction boom, there used to be shortage of labourers but it was not as alarming as it is now. Construction activities in Visakhapatnam and Vijayawada have shot up after bifurcation and workers from Srikakulam and Ongole are going there,” said Chaitanya Sagar, a civil contractor.

Many contractors and construction houses blame the Prime Minster Rozgar Yozna (PMRY) scheme as one of the reasons for the shortage of local labourers. “The scheduled rates in the construction industry are Rs 550 for men and Rs 350 for women for 10 hours of work. But, even if they work for 2 hours under the PMRY scheme they are being paid Rs 500 (both and male). It’s less work and same pay, if not more. So labourers prefer work under the PMRY scheme,” they added.

Some contractors are even going to an extent of getting workers from Bihar and Odisha. “Post-bifurcation, we are getting labourers from Bihar and Odisha as they come cheap and we don’t have to pay them the scheduled rates,” Chaitanya admits.

With the shortage of workers, the construction labourers also hiked their rates. Now they are demanding up to Rs 700 for men and Rs 500 for women. This has escalated the cost of construction by 15 to 20 per cent. Mega projects might not be hit but it will take a toll on individual and mini-projects.

Also, recently the Odisha government has announced a slew of sops for the construction workers (migrant and non-migrant). These include home loans up to one lakh rupees with two per cent interest and the interest would be borne by the government, while the workers only have to pay the principal amount. The contractors fear that these measures might curb the inflow of workers from Odisha.

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