Over 3,000 labourers stranded at various construction sites across MyagdiLabourers have said the companies behind the projects haven’t provided them with even the basic necessities.
Hundreds of workers employed at various development projects in Myagdi have been stranded as the projects have stopped work since the country went into lockdown to prevent the spread of Covid-19.
An estimated 5,000 people work at various development projects in the district. Labourers have said the companies behind the projects haven’t provided them with even the basic necessities.
On Thursday, police rescued 25 construction workers from Singa in Beni Municipality. Faced with an increasingly uncertain future, the workers were on their way to their native villages, said Obigal Roka Magar, one of the workers who was on his way to his native village in Rolpa. According to Magar, the contractors haven’t paid them wages worth Rs2million cumulatively.
Police on Friday detained Akkal Bahadur Tamang, a contractor behind the construction of the police hospital where Magar works, on the charge of shirking responsibility of the workers.
“The contractor has been negligent of his responsibility towards the workers during these uncertain times,” Dhruba Sharma, information officer at District Police, said.
Narayan GC, chief of the Construction Entrepreneurs’ Association, Myagdi, said that there were irregularities from workers after the lockdown.
“With the lockdown in place, contractors were struggling to manage their workers, as many were leaving for home,” he said, claiming that projects under local governments have provided basic facilities to their workers.
But following the lockdown, labourers employed at the Mistrikhola Hydro Project staged protests as the project didn’t provide them with soap, sanitisers and masks. They were sent back to their camp after project manager Tilak Rana promised to provide the safety essentials.
Myagdi Chief District Officer Gyannath Dhakal said that many construction contractors have been negligent about the workers’ security and basic facilities. “The problem is most acute in construction projects,” he said. “The projects are found to be oblivious about the number of labourers working at the sites.”According to estimates from the District Administration Office, over 5,000 workers are employed at various construction sites in the district; 2,000 labourers have returned home since the coronavirus crisis, while over 3,000 are stranded at the sites.