More than a month after demonetisation, the cash crunch situation has not improved remarkably. With no work, bank account and money in hand, daily wagers are finding it hard to survive in the city.
Amidst many “goods”, a bad side of demonetisation has surfaced in realty and construction industry. Due to lack of sufficient availability of new currency, daily labourers and loaders are left with no option, but to work on a lower wage or leave the various NOIDA construction sites and go back home.
Almost 25% of construction workers across NOIDA sites may face a job loss scenario. NOIDA is still seen as a city under construction with more than 300 ongoing projects. The daily wagers working in these projects are basically from Uttar Pradesh and other states, such as Madhya Pradesh and Bihar. It is practically impossible to pay them with new currencies under the cash crunch situation. Without a bank account to their name, the circumstances have become even grave. Adding to that, banks are also unresponsive to open up saving accounts for them due to lack of sufficient documents as proof of residence and identity.
NOIDA is witnessing a huge retreat of daily wagers back to their homes. NOIDA’s famous Labour Chowk, a labour pick-up point near Sector 58 is presenting a poor sight of these workers. Every day an enormous gathering of the construction labourers is seen since morning 6 am but only a handful of them are picked. Some of them are even waiting until 4 pm in the afternoon to get some job for the day, but ultimately going back hopelessly.
Representatives of the Confederation of Real Estate Developers Associations of India (CREDAI) have also agreed that demonetisation has caused these daily wagers to lose their jobs. Amit Modi, Vice-President, CREDAI, Western UP said on the issue, “It is not possible to pay everyone in new currency. So people have to get bank accounts.”
Several builder groups are offering meals on construction sites and trying hard to get a bank account opened for them.
However, it is a fact that not everyone will be able to be taken up to the banking platform successfully. Their wage has been slashed to Rs 200 from Rs 300 daily on the excuse of cash crunch. With no work and practically no money in hand, most of the construction workers are considering it wise to go back to their home towns.