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Govt facing shortage of skilled labourers


GUWAHATI, April 22 - The State Water Resources Department is facing a scarcity of skilled labourers to carry on the dyke repairing works amid the COVID-19 induced lockdown hours.

The repairing of dykes, which was on halt for over a month amid the lockdown, resumed from Tuesday as the rainy season has already started in the State.

Minister of Water Resources department Keshab Mahanta said the department has set a target to repair 68 dykes involving a cost of Rs 700 crore this year and all the works are under way despite the scarcity of skilled labourers.

�We have enough local general labourers. But for protection related works we need skilled labourers. In such a situation, it is a challenge for us to transport adequate numbers of skilled labourers to the work site. But I think, this scarcity will not affect the work, as now-a-days we mainly depend on machines,� Mahanta said.

He stated that in some areas, repairing works have also been facing disruptions due to the shortage of sand. To mitigate the issue, the minister instructed all officials concerned to co-ordinate with nearby districts where stock of sand is available. This time, the department is also not using boulders in dyke repairing works.

Meanwhile, a senior official of the department asserted that especially in the red zone areas for coronavirus, it will be a great challenge for the department to carry out dykes repairing works. Moreover, in some locations, water level is also rising which will create further obstacles.

In connection to the labour scarcity issue, the official said that for a contractor it will be a huge task to carry out registration and medical tests of every labourer being engaged.

Reacting to these issues, the minister said that taking as much as possible protective measure is the first priority of the department. This time the department is concentrating more on Barpeta, Nalbari, Baksa, Darrang, Kamrup, Kamrup (Metro), Nagaon, Sonitpur, Biswanath, Dibrugarh and Jorhat districts, where last year floods caused havoc due to breaching of a number of dykes.

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