… PHPA I will help employ them 

Phurpa Lhamo | Wangdue

A contactor company under the Punatsangchhu I hydroelectric project (PHPA I), Larsen and Toubro (L&T) Limited, relieved 48 employees on May 21. However, they were reinstated after they approached the PHPA I management. 

According to the employees (drivers) they were asked to leave work immediately on May 21. 

It was later decided that they would be released from work on May 31 and would also be paid the salary for June according to the labour laws. 

The employees are paid a daily wage of Nu 308 and earn a monthly salary of Nu 15,000 including overtime work charges. Overtime has been discontinued for the last one and a half months.

According to an employee, the company’s decision was abrupt.

“It isn’t like we have failed in our work. Being asked to leave suddenly is sad. Under the present circumstances, where can we find a new job?” an employee who has been with the company for three years said.

It was learned that the company had not much work in the past six months. Its headquarter in India paid workers’ salary for the past three months only.

Kuensel learned that with the plan to close the Taksha quarry and the work yet to begin on the left bank of the PHPA I dam area, L&T today is out of work.

According to PHPA I’s Joint Managing Director (JMD) Karma Tshewang, the project had enough stockpile of aggregate and didn’t require more.

He said that L&T was informed to stop bringing the aggregate from Taksha. “The dam work is ongoing. And about the geological issue on the left bank of the dam (landslide area), we have a meeting on May 28 from where we will know what work to pick and go ahead.”

Meanwhile, the PHPA I management has discussed with the PHPA II management to employ the drivers if L&T cannot retain them.

“The L&T Company also doesn’t have an option. They don’t have much work and revenue. It is a genuine situation,” JMD Karma Tshewang said.

The PHPA II management will meet the employees today and render help where required.

The employees are today distressed with the news and are seeking help.

According to another worker, there were around three Indian drivers among them.

“They are crying. Everyone is so desperate. I have four children and have to pay Nu 4,500 rent.”