JAMMU, May 10: A nationwide lockdown triggered due to the spread of Coronavirus in the country has also affected the construction of roads along Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (PoK) and China in strategic Union Territory of Ladakh.
The Border Road Organization (BRO) that is entrusted with the responsibility to construct and repair the road network along the borders is finding it hard to find workforce that used to come from Nepal, Jharkhand among other areas.
Migrant labour used to visit Ladakh from Uttrakhand, Bihar among other areas that boosted the road construction activities in the region. Manpower in Ladakh is not adequate for the scale on which construction activities are carried on in the region.
These construction activities are carried along Line of Control (LoC) as well as Line of Actual Control (LAC) in the Ladakh region. Road network needs to be constructed and repaired in these areas bordering PoK and China.
BRO that works day and night to clear the snow from strategic Srinagar-Leh national highway among other roads is now finding it difficult to construct road networks due to absence of migrant labour. The national highway is covered with snow for over five months in a year and remains closed during this period.
In an advertisement by the Jammu and Kashmir Labour Department, an appeal has been made to the stranded migrant labour to work with the BRO in lieu of all basic amenities including clothing, ration, shelter and even vehicles for reaching the construction site besides a salary.
Service of over 14500 labourers is required for 16 projects on the roads in Ladakh, Himachal Pradesh and Uttrakhand.
A senior official of the BRO confirmed that there was a shortage of workers due to the lockdown imposed after Covid-19 outbreak. He said that workers were required for maintenance of roads that were damaged due to the snow in mountainous areas.
Service of 3000 workers is sought for Kargil-Drass, Leh, Padam, Zanskar, Hundar road projects. For Shyok 2500 workers are required and for Upshi, 1500 are required. Similarly workers are also required in Chamoli and Uttrakashi of Uttrakhand.
Surprisingly in Ladakh, a project that required 3000 workers is being managed by only 1000 local labour due to the severe shortage of workforce.