Shortage of labourers affects construction business in Mohali

Shortage of labourers affects construction business in Mohali
At a construction site. (Express Photo)

With the labourers leaving for their native states, the construction business in Mohali is among the worst affected.

Even though the Punjab government had allowed to resume construction work for completing pending projects, the builders and contractors are still in the lurch as they struggle to find labourers.

Due to the shortage, the available labourers have also hiked their wages from Rs 500 per day to Rs 700 per day.

Some builders, however, are of the view that with the easing of restrictions, the labourers will return to the district in the next two or three months, following which the work will be able to start in full swing.

A Kharar-based builder Sukhwinder Singh Goldy told The Indian Express that the difficulty faced in finding construction labourers is impacting the construction work. He added that construction is one of the prime businesses in Mohali as many residential and business projects are under construction.

“Earlier, we used to pay Rs 500 per day to a labourer, now they demand Rs 700, in view of the shortage of labourers. The price of cement has also increased by around Rs 40, while the sand rates are increased by around Rs 10 per feet,” he added.

Mayor Kulwant Singh, who is also the former President of Punjab Builders Association, said, “Construction work will not start immediately, it will take three to four months for the situation to normalise. By then, the labourers will start returning,” Kulwant Singh said.

Shiv Kumar Yadav, a labour contractor in Madanpura village, said that he has been facing problems as many of labourers have left for their native places. He added that those left behind have been demanding a hike in their wages, leaving him in a muddle. “It is not clear when the situation will become normal, but at present, the issue of labourers is significant,” he added.

A Mohali-based labour contractor, Nanhe Bhai Pathak told The Indian Express that most of the labourers who had left from Mohali were construction labourers. He added that many of the labourers had left as they did not get food and ration when the curfew was imposed in Punjab in March.

“There was no work and they did not even have ration. They had to leave for their homes. At present, with the shortage of labourers, there is a hike in wages. The labourers have demanded from the contractors that their wages must be hiked. It is an issue as it will lead to an increase in the construction cost,” Nanhe Bhai Pathak said.

Anuj Gupta, who works for leading real estate companies as a marketing consultant, said that few big builders had in-house labourers arrangements, but those builders were also facing the shortage as around 40 to 50 per cent of their labourers have also left for their native place.

“It will have a larger impact on everything. There will be delay in the delivery of housing units, productivity will be affected, small builders who had to rely on the labour contractors will have to pay more wages, there is no option for them,” he said.

According to Gupta, there were around 150 housing project where the construction was going on in Mohali when the lockdown was imposed.

© The Indian Express (P) Ltd