The sound of hammers striking hot iron, drilling and breaking of boulders emanated as construction on the stalled government projects resumed on Monday on Bishnu Dutt Marg in the heart of national capital.
The work resumed after the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) allowed a range of economic activities to begin in an effort to ease the lives of people. The relaxation is allowed depending on the level of COVID-19 spread in an area.
One of the activities that has been allowed to resume even in the Red zones, where coronavirus cases are high, is construction. However, the relaxation comes with a rider.
“In urban areas construction activities have been limited to in-situ construction (where workers are available on site and no workers are required to be brought in from outside) and construction of renewable energy projects,” the order read.
At the construction site of Members of Parliament flats, Vineeta, a daily wage earner who lives inside the construction site along with 350 other labourers, expressed happiness at the resumption of work.
“We were sitting idle and had no work. We did not get paid. Now that work has started from today, it feels nice. At least we are working,” Vineeta said.
With construction activity resuming, the labourers believe they would be able to send money to their villages again.
“We were given food and ration to survive during lockdown but were not able to send money to our families in villages. Now, we hope to get paid and support our families,” another labourer stated.
Imran, the guard at the site said there are three blocks under construction and added that precautions like social distancing are being taken at the site as well.
“Anyone who comes to work without a mask is sent back. Every worker must wear a mask, we have sanitiser spraying machine which is also being used,” Imran said.