As the BMC's critical pre-monsoon works just begun this year the news of migrant labourers planning to return to their home towns fearing lockdown has started to haunt the civic administration. Reminding the Mumbai civic body of the migrant exodus of last year that hit many of the ongoing infrastructure projects in the city, the civic body is already working out on a backup plan.
Last year between March 2020 and April 2020 many labourers engaged in BMC's work left the city leading to a delay in many pre-monsoon work and other infra-projects in the city. Officials said road and desilting works were the most hit.
A senior civic official said that there was a shortage of labourers after the lockdown last year and somehow they managed to start emergency pre-monsoon infrastructure work with 2,500 labourer in the first week of April. The number of labourers increased to 4,182 gradually later and with their efforts, the BMC began to execute 446 works of road, bridges, the coastal road and repair of the water network.
Each worksite then had an average of just 9 labourers for desilting of major nullahs, the work on roadside drains was badly hit due to labour shortage. The BMC, which was unable to float tenders for cleaning drainage, allotted desilting works to various NGOs then.
Fearing that a similar situation will affect the work this year too, the civic body has already instructed the contractors to take their workers in confidence and take care of them.
Pre-monsoon works in Mumbai are undertaken in April and May every year, besides various departments, BMC is in a rush to complete the work of repairing roads, sanitation, water network in low lying areas by or before May.
Currently, the work on Mumbai Coastal Road Project, Goregaon-Mulund Link Road (GMLR) project is in full swing. A large number of workers are hired on a contract basis for pest control work, desilting of nullahs. Ambitious projects like coastal road too were hit last year after more than 100 labourers left the city.
"Large scale pre-monsoon works are underway in Mumbai. These works need to be completed on time. Therefore, instructions have been given to the concerned contractors to take proper care of the workers doing these works. All the work is going smoothly, for now, however dearth of labourers later is what we are fearing," said a senior BMC official.