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Chhattisgarh offers workers to Border Roads Organisation


New Delhi: Chhattisgarh has shown interest in signing a formal agreement with the Border Road Organisation for the defence ministry arm to hire workers from the state, after neighbouring Jharkhand has made a similar initiative.

Both Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh have seen large reverse migration of workers who had lost jobs when the country went into the lockdown. The BRO, meanwhile, is finding it tough to get labourers to work on its road projects in the border areas, and could provide employment for many of the returned migrants.

The Jharkhand government has prepared a memorandum of understanding to be signed with the BRO to ensure the safety and a better deal for those who would go to work with the organisation. After the news came out, Chhattisgarh contacted the BRO and informed that if a similar proposal came its way, the state would be happy to provide workers.

Chhattisgarh labour secretary Sonmoni Borah, who is also the state nodal officer for migrant workers, on Monday called up BRO director general Lt Gen Harpal Singh to find out more on the subject.

“Migrant workers from Chhattisgarh are known for stamina and resilience and have been engaged in building construction and infrastructure works across the country,” Borah told ET. “We have offered to the BRO that if such proposals come, the Chhattisgarh government will positively consider sending our willing and interested workers to any parts of the country.”

Borah said the response from the BRO was very positive and that the state had asked the organisation to share its requirements and other details so that it could circulate the information among the workers who had returned to the state.

As per labour department data, 3.10 lakh workers have come back to Chhattisgarh. Out of these, 70% were engaged in construction and other infrastructure works outside the state.

However, the labour department would not put any pressure on the workers to take the work. “Mostly the work takes place at high altitudes where it would be difficult for them to take their families. Also, there would be tougher weather conditions and lack of oxygen,” Borah said. “In that case, their willingness to go would be an important factor.”

BRO officials are happy to find another state interested in offering its workforce. As per officials, they started approaching the state governments after several notifications in Jammu and nearby regions for workers failed to generate any response.

The BRO would very soon share the details with Chhattisgarh in order to take the proposal forward, officials said.

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