Firms offer air tickets, more wages to entice migrants to join back
After facing acute shortage of labourers, industries and companies are making all-out efforts to woo migrant workers by offering them advance payments, increased wages, and confirmed train tickets for their return. In some cases, companies are also providing flight tickets to migrant workers to bring them back from their home districts.
Farmers in Punjab and Haryana are also luring migrant labourers back for paddy transplantation. They are also sending buses to various destinations in UP and Bihar. They have offered free train tickets, free liquor, foods, mobile recharge to their labourers back for rice cultivation during kharif season.
According to Paraminderjit Singh, a farmer from Pathankot, he has sent two buses to Buxar’s Rustampur village to bring back 50 farm labourers.
Labourers were asking for almost Rs 5,000 per acre for paddy transplantation. Earlier, it used to be between Rs 2,200 and Rs 2,700, said another farmer.
Last week farmers of Bhatinda and Ludhiana sent buses to Bihar and eastern UP to pick up a group of 150 farm labourers from a cluster of villages. Another bus sent by a Ludhiana farmer had earlier picked up 30 migrant workers from Haripur village in the same district. Paddy transplantation is a labour-intensive exercise in which nurseries are transplanted in puddled fields, for which at least two to three workers per acre are required.
In another instance, three Chennai-based real estate developers have come together to charter a flight to ferry back a group of 150 skilled migrant workers from Bihar after June 15. One of the contractor of Prestige group has booked flight tickets to bring back 10 carpenters from Patna to Hyderabad. Currently, the Bengaluru-based Prestige Group is involved in three projects in Hyderabad.
Similarly, real estate body Credai’s Tamil Nadu chapter is in talks with the state government to arrange what could be the first reverse ‘shramik special’ to bring back workers from home. Builders in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region are reaching out to construction workers in their villages over phone, urging them to return, assuring them of safety, security and extra payments.
In Delhi, an employer gave two month salary in advance to 10 labourers to convince them not to go home towns.
Praveen Khandelwal, general secretary, Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT), said that over 80% of the total workforce has already left the city.
Not only employers, the state governments are also trying their best to adjust migrants labourers in the state. For instances, In Jharkhand, the Hemant Soren government has tied up with Border Roads Organsation (BRO) to give employment to over 11800 workers for infra projects including projects near the China border in Ladakh. Jharkhand chief minister Hemant Soren has signed an memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the BRO for ensuring the welfare of workers in all recruitments in the future.
The Yogi Adityanath government in UP also plans to adjust migrants workers in the micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) and other industries in accordance with their skills. The Kerala government has introduced a scheme called Awas for migrant workers. In MP, industrial units are hiring fleets of vehicles to bring back labourers and deputed senior officials to visit and convince them to return.
On the other hand, migrants labour (skilled and unskilled) also now wants to return to their job and this is evident as most of the trains coming from Bihar, UP, Odisha and West Bengal to metros Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Bangalore also booked till June 30. A mass exodus of workforce has hit the operations in industrial, transport, farm, retail and other sectors, which reopened after an almost two-month hiatus. The workers who have returned to their hometowns are from both skilled and unskilled sectors and include those engaged as machine operators in factories, loaders, drivers, housekeeping staff, as well as those involved in packaging, construction workers, retails, farming, hand-embroidery workers, salespersons and security guards, among others.
As per the data, 5.7 million stranded migrants have been ferried back home in 4,155 sharmik special trains till June 4. UP has claimed 21.69 lakh workers had returned, and UP itself had sent back 1.35 lakh. Bihar has said 10 lakh had returned; Maharashtra has said 11 lakh have left the state. Gujarat said 20.5 lakh had gone back home. West Bengal said 3,97,389 migrant workers from other states were still stranded. Karnataka said in court that the state had facilitated the return of 3 lakh migrant workers.
Tuesday, 09 June 2020 | Rajesh Kumar | New Delhi
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