Mass Exodus Of Labourers Impedes Work On Mughal Road6 October 2010
The Daily Excelsior
Jammu: The mass exodus of labourers has badly hampered the work on historic Mughal Road with project executing agency Hindustan Construction Corporation carrying out work only on few patches during the past over three months. The prevailing situation may cost its shadow on the future plans of the Government vis-ŗ-vis this route. Official sources told the EXCELSIOR that Hindustan Construction Corporation has been facing shortage of around 400 labourers since July 1 when mass exodus of skilled and semi-skilled manpower from outside the State took place due to the threats from the anti-national elements and unrest in the Kashmir valley. 'What to talk of labourers from outside Jammu and Kashmir even large number of workers belonging to different parts of the State too left for their native places and majority of them have not returned so far', they informed, adding 'due to mass migration of labourers particularly those belonging to different States the work got halted at many places and the same could not be resumed during the past over three months'. They disclosed that besides threatening labourers, the anti-national elements too made attempts to loot blasting material when the same was being taken to Headquarters of Hindustan Construction Corporation in Shopian district and this created fear psychosis not only among the workforce from outside J&K but also in those belonging to the State. During the past over three months, even logistics from Hindustan Construction Corporation Headquarters at Shopian to other places on the Mughal Road and at Bufliaz where the projecting executing agency has its sub-office, could not be shifted, they said, adding due to non-availability of construction material at most of the sites coupled with shortage of manpower, the work continued to remain halted. 'At present work is being carried out only towards Bufliaz side by pressing the remaining labourers but the same is also going on at snailís pace', they said while apprehending that non-availability of skilled and semi-skilled labourers may cost its shadow on the plans of the Government about opening the historic route for limited movement of vehicular traffic and completion of road works by September 2011. It is pertinent to mention here that for completion of road work in all respects, September 2011 is the deadline while as for the construction of seven major bridges and necessary works at avalanche prone areas, a target of October 2012 has been fixed. When contacted, a senior officer associated with the project, on the condition of anonymity, confirmed that unrest in Valley and subsequent exodus of the labourers have severely impacted the work on Mughal Road during the past over three months. 'We are trying to bring back the labourers so that work on each and every site is re-started at the earliest', he said, adding 'we will have to work in double shifts so that deadlines for completion of work are met with'. However, sources said that it would really be a litmus test for the projecting executing agency to complete the task within prescribed time frame in view of time to be consumed in bringing back the labourers and start of the winter season when the terrain through which the historic route passes experiences heavy snowfall.