Unemployment rises to 25% in construction sites at NOIDA

NOIDA: More than a month after demonetisation was announced, the trickle-down effect of its impact on the real estate industry is being felt on the labour market.

An unemployment rate of at least 25% is being reported among daily wagers at construction sites across Noida. The builders’ groups claim that despite offering meals, bank account opening facilities and such, not everyone will be able to be taken up to the banking platform. Banks have not been able to resolve the problem of opening accounts for a number of people who have no documents whatsoever.

Noida — still a city largely under construction with over 300 real estate projects under way and lakhs of migrant workers from various parts of UP, MP and Bihar — is already witnessing daily-wage labourers returning home. The daily wagers are employed for direct construction work and also as loaders and off-loaders of goods.

It is a sorry sight at Labour Chowk, Noida’s labour pick-up point near Sector 58. Workers are on the streets from 6am every morning. Only a handful are getting picked for daily-wage work, some have been waiting all day till 4pm to get some job for the day. Many are waiting till around mid-day before retiring to their rooms, without hope.

Sadhna (40), from MP, said many of her ilk were going back to their native places. “How long can we survive without work? Over the last full month, we were hired twice or thrice. We come here, sit here and then slowly leave. If we get work for a day, we make Rs.550,” she said. “But some people are offering old notes while some are asking us to work on credit,” she said. Sadhna has traditionally been working at Noida’s construction sites with her three sons and husband. Their relatives have left and now they are hoping to get some work soon.

Rajiv (25), from Bulandshahr, said that although work opportunities have gone down, the situation was still not very bad for them. “What has happened now is that for loaders and off-loaders like us, instead of a daily Rs.300, we are getting paid Rs.200 or so. People have an excuse to pay lower wages now,” Rajiv said. “We will go home soon. With no work, it makes no sense to sit here on the streets waiting for work,” Gajraj (22) said.

Credai representatives agreed that there was a significant exodus at the moment at all construction sites. “It is not possible to pay everyone in new currency. So people have to get bank accounts,” said Amit Modi, vice-president, Credai western UP.

Credit ET Realty

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