Construction sector in the city is waking up from slumber after relaxation of lockdown regulations.
Due to labour crunch and steep increase in prices of raw materials, work on only 20% of the projects has resumed, representatives of builders associations said.
Some builders have resumed projects with the available labour, said Surender Vittel, district president of the Confederation of Real Estate Developers Associations of India (Credai). “Only stalled work has been resumed. We are waiting for inter-district labourers to come back,” he said.
S P Saravanan, president of the Coimbatore Civil Engineers Association (Cocena), agreed. “Construction projects in Coimbatore employ labourers from Tiruvannamalai, Madurai, Ramanathapuram, and Thoothukudi. Many of them don’t know the procedures to get permission to return. With guest workers leaving for homes, in some places, builders requested them to stay back for a month and have started work.”
“Another major issue is high raw material cost, because of which, builders might not be able to complete the work in the already agreed rate. New work estimates will be at a higher cost,” said Saravanan.
R Nagaraj, a mason, said price of a bag of cement has gone up by Rs 50 and is being sold for Rs 430 per bag. “Price of a load of M-sand has gone up from Rs 16,000 to Rs 18,000. Blue metal price has gone up from Rs 8,000 to Rs 10,500 per load, brick price has increased from Rs 39,000 to Rs 44,000 per load and the price of iron rods has gone up from Rs 42.50 per kg to Rs 48. Because of this, majority of the work is yet to resume,” he said.
Meanwhile, construction workers unions said that many big players are yet to start work, as guest workers, who provided them with cheap labour, have gone home. “North Indian workers demand only half of what native workers demand. So, big players prefer them,” said N Selvaraj, general secretary of the Tamil Nadu AITUC Construction Workers’ Union.
Construction sector representatives said a section of guest workers have left for homes and others are getting ready to leave. Amid this, only those projects, which had their workers already staying in the sites, have resumed work.