Construction Firms Wooing Migrant Workers With Air Tickets, Sops
Workers labour at the construction of a dedicated Covid Heath Centre at the Bandra Kurla Complex exhibition ground in Mumbai, India. (Photographer: Dhiraj Singh/Bloomberg)

Construction Firms Wooing Migrant Workers With Air Tickets, Sops

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Unable to meet their deadlines due to labour shortage following return of migrant workers to their home states, several construction firms here have started wooing them back, offering flight tickets and also extra payments.

A senior official of a city-based infrastructure company said the shortage of workers is forcing companies to resort to poaching by luring them with lucrative offers. The senior vice-president of Prestige Group (business operations-Hyderabad) R Suresh Kumar told PTI that one of their contractors has booked flight tickets to bring back 10 carpenters from Patna to Hyderabad.

He justified the move saying that though the timeline for execution of real estate projects has been extended by the regulator RERA, some of the firms like his are determined to complete them possibly on time.

Currently, the Bengaluru-based Prestige Group is involved in three projects in Hyderabad.

“We had about 2,300 workers at our sites. Now, we have about 700. We are putting in all our efforts to see the required workforce is placed at the sites. The aim is to see the projects are completed on time and the product delivered to the customer," he said.

Also read: The Migrant Crisis Is A Class War, Warns Supreme Court Lawyer Dushyant Dave

The Telangana government had earlier said there were about 3.5 lakh migrant labourers working in the state before the lockdown. However, most of them have gone back as the lockdown was continued.

Some even walked hundreds of kilometers to get back to their homes. Though the Centre has allowed construction activity to start with the available labour at the work sites, the sudden shortage of manpower is forcing some companies to resort to poaching.

"All are in desperate times. Poaching of workers also started as firms want to complete their projects and get back stalled bills," a senior official of a construction firm said.

An official of Andhra Pradesh Irrigation Department said about 1,200 workers at the Polavaram project suddenly left last month forcing Megha Engineering and Infrastructure Ltd., the contractor for the project, to arrange special trains to bring labourers from other states.

The official said the workers had left even rejecting the offer of Rs 10,000 over and above their payment. Sources in MEIL said about 1,000 workers have come back so far and another 1,800 are expected within a week at the project site.

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