Royal Commission on Labour in India: Report(1929)||
Experiments in departmental working on a large scale appear to have been rare, but we have been given particulars of the results recently obtained in the Central Provinces in connection with the construction of the Kharung and Maniari reservoir canals in the Bilaspur district. Here the department found difficulty in securing labour through contractors to the extent necessary to complete the works, and in 1924-25 they started departmental recruiting. The numbers so employed in the first year were under 3, 000 and rose steadily until about 10, 000 persons were employed departmentally in 1929 against 5, 000 employed through contractors. It was stated by the department that the work had been carried out much more expeditiously at a lower cost and that labour was getting a bigger return than it would receive from contractors. Advances were given to recruit labour from a distance and the department bore the losses which arose from defaults by those to whom advances had been given. Experience has shown, however, that labourers are more ready to accept employment departmentally than from a contractor, and the total loss in respect of advances does not seem to be large. This district supplies labour to many industries, and we do not suggest that experience elsewhere will necessarily be similar, but we recommend that the possibilities of the wider application of departmental working should be considered by the Public Works Departments generally. The system of employing labour through contractors on large works is one of very old standing, and, with the great changes in conditions in recent years, we are by no means satisfied that its advantages are as great as they were in the past.