The Dedicated Freight Corridor Corporation of India Limited (DFCCIL), which is left with about 50% of its workforce after the lockdown, has begun the process of getting back nearly 20,000 labourers. The implementation agency for the ambitious Dedicated Freight Corridor Project is in talks with State Governments to get back labourers for construction work.
DFCCIL has sought help from state governments including those of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Jharkhand to arrange workers for the Rs 81,000 crore project, scheduled to be completed by 2021, officials aware of the development said. The agency has also begun booking special trains in bulk and deploying buses to get the labourers back.
“We had nearly 40,000 labourers working for us before the lockdown. After the first lockdown was announced, a bulk of migrants went back in the first 15 days. Once the Shramik Special trains began plying, nearly 50% of our workforce had gone back. We have major agencies including L&T, Tata, GMR group etc who requested us to get the labour back. We have written to the UP government, we are also talking to the governments of Bihar and Jharkhand for the same as a majority of the workers comes from the eastern states,” said Anurag Sachan, managing director, DFCCIL.
“So far around 8,000 labourers have returned and we are arranging transportation for more to return. Several of the special trains that are plying were returning nearly empty, we managed to make bookings in bulk for the labourers. States like UP and Bihar have also made of the migrants and their skills and we are in touch with them. At present we are still at 50% of our total workforce,”Sachan added.
These workers are needed for technical jobs like electrification, mast casting, track works, operating high-end machines and others which cannot be done by local labour. Around 11,000 workers of the total workforce were skilled labour, officials said.
The railway ministry last month said the trend of migrants returning by special trains from Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal, shows signs of economic activity picking up again. Special trains returning from high migrant population states have shown over 100% occupancy from June 26 till June 30, according to railway ministry data, indicating that many of them may be migrants who had gone back to their home states on Shramik Specials during the lockdown.