South Western Railway has begun work on its projects stalled for nearly a month due to the national lockdown. “We have started works at some sites on Sunday in connection with the Gadag-Hotgi doubling project, Hubballi-Chikjajur doubling project as well as the Gangavathi-Karatgi new line with available labour at our sites.”, Chief Administrative Officer, Constructions, South Western Railway K C Swami said.
Many handicaps though persist, he added. ‘We are looking for skilled labour and artisans suitable for our works. Problems are being faced due to non-resumption of work at the end of from suppliers of Cement, sand and other materials,” he explained.
The Baiyappanhalli 3rd Coaching terminal has been identified as a hot spot containment zone and thus work not yet started there due to barricading and complete lockdown there, he added.
A senior railway official at Baiyappanahalli said track railway track laying work demands a special kind of expertise. “We cannot substitute workers who have one specific skill to do another. A good number managed to leave the City and until they are brought back by the contractors, it will be difficult to carry out work smoothly,” he said.
Referring to a key raw material required to ready the terminal, the official said, “Granite has to come from different parts of the country. Jalwar has to supply subway flooring and cladding, Srikakulam and Orissa have to supply granite for platform paving and Madurai has to supply it for the station building’s cladding and flooring,” he said. The manufacturers are not able to get workers to load them onto trucks, he added.
Swami said raw materials could be shipped only through trucks and not through goods trains as quarries and crushers would be located in remote places and not near stations.
Another official said all migrant workers at project sites were given rations, food and made to maintain social distancing.