Builders urge Maharashtra government to review, ease lockdown rules
Publish on : 2021-04-08 19:23:15
The Builders Association of India said the builders are expected to face challenges to meet the condition on vaccination of workers because most construction workers were below the minimum age of 45 years set for the inoculation.
Property developers in Maharashtra have urged the state government to review and relax the partial lockdown measures issued for the real estate and construction industry.
The Builders Association of India that has approached chief minister Uddhav Thackeray on Monday with this demand has also said the builders are expected to face challenges to meet the condition on vaccination of workers because most construction workers were below the minimum age of 45 years set for the inoculation. Relaxing this age criterion is one of their demands.
“Since the vaccination is allowed only to people above 45 years and most of the construction workers are below 45 years, the compliance of the vaccination mentioned in the SOP by the Maharashtra government would be difficult,” said Mohinder Rijhwani, chairman of the Mumbai Centre of the Builders Association of India.
Also, instead of the time-consuming RT-PCR test, a faster rapid antigen test be allowed for Covid-19 testing of labourers. The government has made a negative RT-PCR test result compulsory for workers who have not taken vaccination.
It has also requested that offices of architects, licensed surveyors, engineers, structural engineers, plumbers and other consultants be allowed to operate at 50% capacity, in line with the offices of lawyers that are currently allowed to function.
As part of a notification issued on Sunday for the lockdown, the Maharashtra government announced that construction work would be allowed only for projects where labourers are living on site with restriction of movement outside, except for movements related to construction material.
It has directed that everyone engaged in the activity must be vaccinated at the earliest and until then must carry a negative RT-PCR test result certificate to work. These tests results will be valid for 15 days from April 10.
“As most workers at our sites are of young age, the present age criterion will prove to be a limitation to our efforts to get all labourers vaccinated and therefore a review of the same is needed. An accommodative criterion will help in achieving a higher number of vaccinations and keeping up the pace of construction activity with availability of workers,” said Harsh Vardhan Patodia, national president of the Confederation of Real Estate Developers’ Associations of India (Credai).
Credai has already announced a plan to provide free Covid-19 vaccination to more than 2.5 crore construction workers at the sites of its over 13,000 developer members in 217 cities and towns.
According to the state government, any default on the measures announced will attract a fine of 10,000 for the developer and repeated defaults may lead to closure of the site till the time the rules are in place.
In its letter to Thackeray, the builders’ association has also requested that their sales and back offices be allowed to operate to ensure no impact on housing sales around the Gudi Padwa and Akshaya Tritiya festivals next week that usually see higher sales momentum.
Property developers are stepping up their existing precautionary measures to match the government’s partial lockdown directives to ensure safety of construction workers at their sites.
They have already been making efforts to vaccinate workers and persuading them to take the jabs. Workers are also being provided food and shelter at the site itself. There are also measures like providing creche at the work site for the children of workers.