MUMBAI: Currency shortage has hit the unorganized sector hard with labourers, construction workers and their employers trying to find ways to circumvent the crisis and keep home fires burning and hunger at bay.
On Tuesday, Credai, the apex body of real estate developers, announced a relief programme by collaborating with its nationwide developer network to provide daily meals to their workers at construction sites. The body said it will also ensure basic amenities such as food-grains and vegetables as well as access to banks on location. “Though it has impacted all of us, construction workers who are daily wage earners… are the most affected…Most of them don’t even have a bank account,” said Credai in a statement. The body added its member community has been feeding over 5,000 workers across the country. “Large-scale community kitchens are being run at various construction sites of Credai members.”
Builder Niranjan Hiranandani said because of demonetisation, contractors have tied up with kirana shops as a stop-gap arrangement to ensure supply of foodstuff and household commodities to labourers. “Since contractors can’t pay in cash, this temporary arrangement is working fine for now. Contractors are directly paying shopkeepers by cheque who, in turn, provide foodgrains to the workers,” Hiranandani said.
A Pune-based builder said his contractor was issuing bearer cheques to labourers instead of currency. “Some workers have bank accounts while those who don’t are taking help of their friends and relatives to deposit cheques,” he said. Construction site workers are paid Rs 3,500- to Rs 4,000 a week in cash, he added.
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