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Return of migrant workers key to revival of realty sector: builders

The prolonged lockdown from March 22 has hit the real estate sector in the city hard, bringing it to almost a standstill.

The sector, heavily dependent upon migrant labour from the other States as well as from within Andhra Pradesh, sees their return to work as a major factor for resumption.

Migrant labourers from various States contribute to each of the components of the construction industry. While scaffolding and rod bending work is taken care of by workers from Bihar and Jharkhand, electrical work is mostly done by those from Kerala. Plumbing workforce comes from Odisha and tile-laying from Gujarat and West Bengal. Since workers had faced several hardships in reaching home, it is difficult to say when they will return, builders say.

Construction activity will not resume just like that even if the lockdown is lifted since it may take a few months for workers to return, says Confederation of Real Estate Developers’ Associations of India, Andhra Pradesh, Chairman K. Subba Raju. He estimates that all over the State around one lakh migrants were working.

Though workers had been provided for nearly two months in his project after the lockdown had begun, once the relaxations were announced they had left to their places, says a prominent builder.

Before the government announced relaxations for movement of migrant labourers it should have consulted the stakeholders, feels CREDAI Visakhapatnam Chapter Chairman K. Ramakrishna Rao. He sees uncertainty over the return of workers with the spike in cases by the day and projections that the coronavirus spread would peak in June and July.

“Real estate is the only sector that received no support so far from the government to overcome the stress caused by the lockdown,” says Mr. Subba Raju. Waiving the interest on project loans for the moratorium period and rescheduling them by giving an extension of two years and reducing GST by half for two years are the exemptions being sought by the CREDAI.

Sand woes

On its part, the State government should give some incentives by reducing various charges, he says.

But more importantly, though sand piled up at the stockyards people are not able to order with the online site either not opening or displaying ‘no stock,’ he says. Only in recent days some activity in small ventures has begun, say sources.

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