PUNE: The city wing of real estate developers’ body, Credai, has decided to approach the ministry of labour and employment to resolve the shortage of workers due to the demonetisation of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes.
Some developers added that the possession of new flats may be delayed due to the money crisis in the country.
Shantilal Kataria, president of Confederation of Real Estate Developers’ Associations of India (Credai), Pune Metro, told TOI, “The construction industry is facing a huge problem because of labour shortage, which is a fallout of the government’s decision to demonetize high currency notes. We are going to approach the ministry to find an immediate solution before the shortage turns into a major problem which will affect overall economy and growth.”
Kataria said that a majority of builders get workers from labour contractors. “These contractors pay labourers. But since the government has scrapped Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes, builders, contractors and labourers are in a tight spot because of cash scarcity. Most labourers are floating migrants and many of them don’t even have bank accounts. Cash transactions have stopped and hence there is a labour shortage. The government must take some steps in the coming week to avoid further crisis,” he said.
The cash crisis is also expected to hit customers. Those hoping to possess their new flats in the next few months would have to wait longer as work on various projects has been paused due to the shortage of labourers.
“We have promised our customers to hand over the possession of flats in March. However, now it seems it would be delayed by a couple of months as we are short of labour. Eight wings of our project are ready; only colouring, windows and drainage work is to be completed. However, work has stopped as contractors are not finding enough labour,” an engineer of a construction project on Katraj-Kondhwa Road said.
Sahakarnagar resident Asha Patil said that their builder had earlier promised to hand over the flat by December, at least to carry out interior works. “However, now we are being told that work has stopped because of labour shortage. This means that full possession will also be delayed. We are living on rent and have an agreement with the owner till February. We now have to renew the agreement and continue to pay rent,” she said.
Contractors said that labour is not available as they have to be paid on a daily basis and contractors are out of cash. “We can’t pay labourers by cheque or deposit money in their account as they don’t have accounts or debit cards. They are working in other places where they get paid in cash,” contractor Girish Shinde said.
Nitin Pawar, leader of unorganized working sector, said, “Not only construction labourers, but overall unorganized workers are facing the brunt of demonetization. The situation at ‘majur addas’ is serious as hundreds of labourers await daily wage work, but there is no work available as contractors have no cash to dispense,” he said.
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