Work comes to a standstill on Kishoreganj Chowk-Ranchi Lake Road on Thursday after a labour protest over non-payment of wages. Picture by Hardeep Singh
The renovation of the 1,100-feet Kishoreganj Chowk-Ranchi Lake Road remained suspended on Thursday after around 40 labourers boycotted work over non-payment of wages.
The labourers, who have been engaged in repairs since July 20, staged demonstrations at the site.
“We will not work unless our dues for the past month are cleared. We are daily wage earners and cannot sustain our family without regular payment,” said a worker, Fabyanus Kerketta, who hails from Bero.
The Ranchi Regional Development Authority, which is executing the Rs 40-lakh project, had roped in a contractor, U.N. Dubey. But Dubey could not be found at the site on Thursday with the labourers claiming that he had disappeared after appointing another petty contractor, Mohammed Maumuddin, as in-charge.
When contacted, RRDA engineer deputed for supervision of the work Braj Bihari Prasad blamed the local residents.
“A week ago, some local residents protested, saying that after renovation, rain water would enter their shops and houses as the height of the road would be increased. As a result, work remained stalled and the labourers sat idle. The contractor is now reluctant to pay the labourers as they had done no work, leading to the imbroglio,” he said.
Prasad, however, claimed that the matter had been resolved and work would resume from Friday morning.
Local residents, on the other hand, said that they did not protest against the renovation project, but the way the road was being reconstructed.
“The RRDA has not made any provision for drains along the road, which means that it will again become dilapidated in no time. Three years ago, renovation work was carried out in a similar manner, but the road soon crumbled due to poor drainage,” said shopowner Sanjeev Singh.
Another resident, R.N. Shahdeo, said they voiced grievances against the tardy pace of construction.
“Repairs, which started on July 20, should have been completed in 15 days. The contractor has blocked the road, causing inconvenience to commuters heading towards Nagarmal Modi Seva Sadan and Upper Bazar from Harmu bypass road. Till now, a stretch of only 250 feet has been renovated. Vehicles cannot enter the locality as renovation is also going on the parallel road running through Purani Ranchi,” he said.
However, Prasad insisted that work would be over within the next 15 days.