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Coronavirus: Construction Activity Restarts In Some Green Zones, Says Niranjan Hiranandani

About two to three percent of construction activity has resumed in green zones across the country, said Niranjan Hiranandani, president of industry body Assocham. “My reading is that hopefully by next week, it could go up to 5 or 6 percent of the work but a large amount of work and other men are in city and urban, semi-urban areas where we have a large number of red zones and that is becoming the challenge.”

In the Mumbai metropolitan region only government construction activity on pre-monsoon road and drain work as well as on key projects such as metro rail and harbour bridge has restarted, Hiranandani, a developer himself, said. He warned that resumption of certain construction activity is critical in the city. “For example, there some places where if they (pre-monsoon works) are not permitted and the works are not completed, in the monsoon there could be landslides in these cases which could cause damage to property and people in the adjoining buildings and areas. So, I think some of this activity has to be taken up,” he said in an interview to BloombergQuint.

Besides, there are continuing concerns about the safety of migrant labour in urban construction sites. Many labourers trekked home to various states when the lockdown was first imposed on March 24, sparking concerns for their welfare and also heightening risks of carrying the virus into rural communities. Others stayed on at construction sites where project owners are attempting to house and feed them, keeping new conditions such as social distancing in mind. If construction work does not begin soon after May 3, many of these labourers will prefer to return to their villages ahead of the monsoon, Hiranandani said. MNREGA or the employment guarantee scheme is also a big draw.

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