The Metro Line 2A and 7, which were expected to be finished by December this year, are bound to get delayed until May 2021, due to shortage of workers. MMRDA had around 16000 workers before Shramik Trains were started, however, it is currently has only 3,500 workers available, which is very insufficient for the number of ongoing projects in Mumbai.
This meant that many workers have returned home in March or April and haven’t returned back to the city. While some workers are said to be returning back to the city, it’s only a fraction of the workforce required. MMRDA Commissioner R A Rajeev said that the first batch of special trains with labourers returning to Mumbai was expected to arrive in August, but has now been pushed to December.
“With the lockdown, highways were closed and trucks were not moving initially. When they did, labour was not available for loading and unloading material. Industries and manufacturing units were closed and when they resumed shortage of men impacted supplies. The momentum gained over the last two years has been lost,” the commissioner added.
The contractors appointed by MMRDA who are tasked with finding suitable labourers have reportedly said that it may take two to three months for the entirety of the labour force to return. The MMRDA, for its part, is making sure that no time is lost in waiting for the labourers and has published advertisements on newspapers to encourage locals to join the MMRDA’s workforce.
However, the MMRDA commissioner seemed hesitant, saying “but local people do not have the skill sets required for construction and infrastructure work.”
“They are trained for industrial and manufacturing work. We have to get workers from other states”, he added. Expressing some hope in the midst of these delays, the commissioner mentioned that only Metro lines 2A and 7 will be delayed, while the rest of the projects have a much later deadline which he says will allow the contractors to make up for the time lost until now.