Cochin shipyard ramps up workforce at site to make up for lost time

The Cochin Shipyard Ltd (CSL) is adding more workers at the site of its two key projects in Kochi — the Rs 970 crore international ship repair facility (ISRF) and Rs 1,730 crore new dry dock — in a move to bring the pace of the work to pre-Covid-19 days and make up for the lost time.“Both the projects at this stage are highly labour intensive. On ground, we had more than 600 people working on each of the two projects. Last month it was less than 200. We are now pulling it back to 350-400 levels,” Madhu S Nair, chairman and managing director of CSL, told TNIE.

He said the seven-day quarantine rule has also helped to increase the number of workers at the sites. “Earlier, the contractors had to incur a lot of money to bring back workers in special buses, and then keeping them under 14-day quarantine and then testing etc, before allowing them to join duty. This has come down now,” Nair said. Still, due to the recent spike in Covid-19 cases, migrant workers are not comfortable coming back to Kerala, he said.

Though 70 per cent of the work at ISRF, which is coming up at a 40-acre plot leased from the Cochin Port at Willingdon Island, is complete, the project is delayed by a year. The project will be commissioned only in December 2021 as against the earlier planned December 2020 launch. The shortage of workers at the site following the Covid-19 lockdown is just one of the reasons for the project delay.

There are other issues that played havoc on the state-owned shipyard’s plans. For instance, a German firm with which CSL had placed an order for equipment had fallen into financial distress. The civil contractor, which is building the project in Kochi, also ran into financial troubles. “We have pulled back everything now, and the German equipment is in transit,” said Nair. Thankfully, the contractors had completed all the marine works prior to Covid-19. “Only the land side work is left, which is under our control,” he said.
Source: The New Indian Express

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