The coronavirus outbreak has failed put brakes on the Pune Metro Works, with officials trying their best to strike balance between meeting the deadline and taking utmost precautions at the casting yards where hundreds of workers are present simultaneously. Every employee is now being screened by doctors while they work to put the Metro on rail as planned. Such measures are being taken at a time when the district administration has emphasised on social distancing. The government has ordered shutting of their offices, malls and pubs along with private firms that have also been asked to float the work from home option. The authorities concerned want to curb gathering of any sorts to avoid escalation of the outbreak.
MahaMetro officials said that work on the project cannot stop at this stage. Thus, doctors at all four casting yards have been ensuring that the labourers are in good health. Some infrastructural works cannot come to a halt with the Metro project falling in this category. Its casting yards at Deccan College, Wagholi, Kasarwadi and Kiwale host 300-500 employees at a time, who ensure that developments are executed on time.
Many medical measures have now been taken in a bid to keep the infection at bay. Hemant Sonawane, general manager of public relations at Maha-Metro, while affirming that work on Metro cannot be paused at this stage, said, “In the wake of coronavirus, we have started implementing new steps to make sure that all our labourers work in a healthy condition. At every casting yard, an MBBS doctor has been appointed to monitor the health condition of each and every worker at the site. Any labourer with signs of fever, cough or cold has been quarantined till he gets better.”
The medical officers have also been keeping a record of health of all the labourers. Govind Gutte, a medical officer at one of the yards, said, “We have been constantly creating awareness about the virus among the workers. If they are in need of medical attention, they are examined at the yard only and in case of any further medical assistance, they are referred to other hospitals.”
At the casting yards’ entry gates, the security guards have been given thermal meters to check every labourer before he enters into the yard. Pawan Bishnoi, in charge of the Deccan College facility, said, “Following the outbreak, we have stopped recruiting new migrant labourers. The work is being carried out with the existing strength of 300 workers, who have been at the job round the clock. They have been provided masks and they undergo check-ups every day.” The yard operates for 24 hours and produced 10 rings in this tenure, which are then used in construction of tunnel on the Metro route. In order to maintain coordination between various units, the officials hold group meetings on a regular basis. But Bishno stated that after the outbreak, these sessions have been cancelled and matters are now discussed virtually.