Amid fears of India’s economic growth touching a three-decade low, due to the Coronavirus lockdown, which has now been extended till May 3, 2020, the government has partially lifted restrictions on building construction, to revive stalled economic activity
Amid fears of India’s economic growth touching a three-decade low, due to the Coronavirus lockdown, which has now been extended till May 3, 2020, the government has partially lifted restrictions on building construction, to revive stalled economic activity. “To mitigate hardship to the public, select additional activities have been allowed,” the Ministry of Home Affairs said, in a statement on April 15, 2020, stating that all safety and social distancing protocols should be adhered to, throughout the process.
Note here that health ministry has identified 170 districts as Covid-19 hotspots and 207 districts as potential hotspots.
The exemptions, however, will not apply to the dozens of virus containment zones, including those in the NCR and MMR, which currently have the largest number of stuck housing projects. Also, only those workers currently available on the site, will be able to resume work, the government order said, specifying that no construction worker could be brought from outside. According to Niranjan Hiranandani, national president – NAREDCO, the real estate industry had ensured that site labourers did not reverse-migrate to their villages, based on the advisories issued by the authorities. “There have been no layoffs. We have paid wages and taken care of them,” he said. The workers will also have to be accommodated in adjacent buildings, close to the construction site.
Impact of COVID-19 lockdown on construction workers
The lockdown, which began on March 25, 2020, resulted in tens of thousands of migrant workers walking for miles on foot, to reach their native places to avoid starvation, as the sudden move resulted in loss of their incomes overnight. According to industry estimates, of the total 44 million people employed in the construction sector currently, 80% are migrant workers. “This resumption of activity, will not only put a stop to the reverse migration issues faced by businesses across the nation but also help in the commencement of economic activity and employment opportunity, for millions of daily-wage earners. Most importantly, the relaxation will also help in controlling the already delayed delivery timelines,” said Amit Modi, president-elect CREDAI-western UP and director of ABA Corp. According to Rohit Gera, MD of Gera Developments, however, the complete halt of the construction work makes it quite hard for it to be restarted, once the momentum of activity and momentum of cash-flows is lost.
List of COVID-19 hotspot districts
Andhra Pradesh: Kurnool, Guntur, Spsr Nellore, Prakasam, Krishna, Y S.R, West Godavari, Chittoor, Vishakhapatnam, East Godavari, Anantapur
Delhi: South, South East, Shahdara, West, North, Central, New Delhi, East and South West
Gujarat: Ahmadabad, Surat, Bhavnagar, Rajkot, Vadodara.
Karnataka: Belagavi, Mysuru, Bengaluru Urban
Kerala: Kasaragod, Ernakulam, Pathanamthitta, Thiruvananthapuram
Madhya Pradesh: Indore, Bhopal, Ujjain
Maharashtra: Mumbai, Pune, Thane, Nagpur, Sangli, Ahmednagar, Yavatmal, Aurangabad, Buldhana, Mumbai Suburban, Nashik.
Punjab: Jalandhar, Pathankot
Rajasthan: Jaipur, Tonk, Jodhpur, Banswara, Kota, Jhunjhunu, Jaisalmer, Bhilwara, Bikaner, Jhalawar, Bharatpur
Tamil Nadu: Chennai, Tiruchirappalli, Coimbatore, Tirunelveli, Erode, Vellore, Dindigul, Villupuram, Tiruppur, Theni, Namakkal, Chengalpattu, Madurai, Tuticorin, Karur, Virudhunagar, Kanniyakumari, Cuddalore, Thiruvallur, Thiruvarur, Salem, Nagapattinam
Uttar Pradesh: Agra, Gautam Buddha Nagar, Meerut, Lucknow, Ghaziabad, Saharanpur, Shamli, Firozabad, Moradabad.
West Bengal: Kolkata, Howrah, 24 Paraganas North, Medinipur East
Source: Health Ministry