Urban Railways

Bangalore Metro Contractors Seek Financial Aid to Pay 9,000 workers

The construction companies working on various projects of Namma Metro has reached out to Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Ltd (BMRCL) for financial help during the extended lockdown. At least 17 contractors have nearly 9,000 workers on their payroll but the stoppage of work for extended period has put pressure on their finances. With many companies seeking monetary support for April.

There are about nine contractors and over two dozen sub-contractors working for Namma Metro, which is executing a 72-km project on six stretches across the city. Contractors said that the BMRCL makes payment only after taking into account the physical progress every month. As the work came to a standstill in the last week of March, the transport utility made payments only for the first 24 days of March.

Companies foresee that the payments for April too may not happen unless the work resumes. “We had to pay salaries to the workers for the remaining seven days of March from our pockets. Although there was no work in the last two weeks, we will still pay the workers as they are our strength. We have also made a request to the BMRCL for reimbursing the amount when the work resumes,” a contractor working for Namma Metro said.

“We will continue to pay them to discourage them from leaving”, a contractor said they have to ensure not only the wages are paid to the employees but food and ration kits are given to the workers so that no one flees. “We have spent Rs 60 lakh only to purchase ration kits and other essentials for the workers,” he said.

It’s learned that there are 8,980 migrant labourers from various parts of the country working for Namma Metro. There are at least 17 contractors and subcontractors and each agency has about two to three labour camps. A senior BMRCL official said the utility has instructed officers to visit every labour camp to check the hygiene and health of the workers.

BMRCL Managing Director Ajay Seth said that the corporation would fully support the construction companies. He, however, refused to share the details saying it’s an understanding between the contractors and the Metro. Meanwhile, a contractor said that the BMRCL has instructed the companies to make payments to the workers every fifteen days instead of the regular monthly payments.