The Jharkhand government is signing an MoU with L&T to provide workers, the second such MoU amid the Covid-19 pandemic. A similar agreement was made with BRO to send 1,648 workers from Jharkhand with special benefits and security. ET has learnt that L&T wrote to the state government on June 12 requesting permission for mobilisation of workmen from Jharkhand.
“We are facing a workmen crisis due to the Covid-19 lockdown. We are in need of around 1,000 workmen for civil construction work for our project in Visakhapatnam,” the letter stated.
The Jharkhand government, after discussing the offer in detail, replied to L&T on July 2. In a letter by Rajeev Arun Ekka, principal secretary, labour department, Jharkhand, the government granted permission for mobilisation of workers from Jharkhand by L&T to Visakhapatnam. It advised L&T to register themselves as principal employer as per the Interstate Migrant Workmen Act, 1979.
L&T has been working for the past few years to create a one-of-its-kind Naval Alternate Operating Base (NAOB) near Vishakhapatnam that will include berthing facilities for dozens of ships. In a first for India, the base –– named Project Varsha as of now –– will also have underground pens to house nuclear submarines, making them virtually impossible to detect.
The NAOB is India’s answer to similar infrastructure developed by China at the Hainan islands –– the closest large naval base to India in the South China Sea. The project has been given fresh impetus by the current government and is considered vital for India as it expands its fleet of nuclear-powered and armed submarines.
L&T’s requirement to Jharkhand is for 3,000 workers (according to the draft MoU) and the project is expected to be completed by December 31, 2022. An MoU has been prepared by the state government which would be signed by both parties in the coming days.
In its letter, L&T had mentioned that it offered three salary structures for unskilled, semi-skilled and skilled workers. The unskilled worker will be paid ₹16, 517 per month, semi-skilled ₹19,348 and skilled workers ₹23,320 per month. The workers would also be liable to benefits such as accommodation, ESI, PF and food on chargeable basis. They would also be reimbursed the bus or train fare on actuals incurred while going to Vishakhapatnam.
“While the Jharkhand government is tackling the unprecedented health crisis, it has also decided to take strong measures to uphold and protect the fundamental rights and welfare entitlements of its residents who undertake out-migration,” the MoU draft read.
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