Mumbai’s Infrastructure Projects at a Standstill as Thousands of Workers Leave the City

Mumbai’s Infrastructure Projects at a Standstill as Thousands of Workers Leave the City

As lakhs of migrants leave Mumbai, the MMRDA (Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority) is facing a severe shortage of workers for its ongoing infrastructure projects. This comes as the MMRDA previously pushed the December 2020 deadline for the Metro-2A (Dahisar - DN Nagar) and Metro 7 (Dahisar East - Andheri East) projects by three more months due to the lockdown. 

The Metropolitan Commissioner of the MMRDA, RA Rajeev said - “We are yet to assess the impact, but migrant workforce leaving the city has affected projects.” The returning of workers from other states has also delayed the Mumbai Trans Harbour Link (MTHL) bridge spanning 22 km. This bridge will connect Mumbai with Navi Mumbai and several other key destinations across Mumbai.

A total of 30 special (Shramik) trains left Maharashtra yesterday to states like Bihar, Chattisgarh, Jharkhand, Kerala, Orissa, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, and West Bengal. 

Also read - About 8 Lakh Migrants Have Left Mumbai For Their Hometowns

As per officials, almost all projects of MMRDA are facing problems owing to lack of labour force. There is a sort of anxiety among labourers, making them leave the city despite being provided with food and shelter at work sites.

Currently, the MMRDA is involved with the phase-2 of the COVID-19 hospital being set up in Bandra Kurla Complex. This “jumbo” medical facility will reportedly have 1,000 COVID-19 beds and 100 Intensive Care Units (ICU) beds.

There’s no doubt that Mumbai’s infrastructure work is heavily dependent on contract workers and daily wage earners from other states. With the coronavirus lockdown leaving most migrants without a daily income, many were eager to travel back to their home states. 

It is currently estimated that nearly 50 per cent of the MMRDA’s migrant workforce has left the city as of now. The MMRDA reportedly had more than 11,000 workers at one time with the number now shrinking rapidly. While many have resorted to taking special Shramik trains back to their homes, some have travelled at their own expense.