Chairman of the Task Force for Implementation of Third Finance Commission Report A.G. Kodgi said on Monday that local bodies had a vital role in providing basic facilities to migrant workers.

He was speaking at the inaugural function of migrant workers' convention organised by the district units of Karnataka State Migrant Workers' Association, and Building and Other Construction Migrant Workers' Association, here.

Mr. Kodgi said local bodies were allotting lands for the migrant workers colonies near unhealthy places. This should be avoided. Drinking water, toilet and cooking facilities should be provided to migrant workers. Contractors who hired these workers and the Labour Department should take care of them.

Although funds were available with the Union Labour Ministry, the question of how to utilise these funds remained.

The classification of below the poverty line and above the poverty line families was yet to be done.

Executive Director of the Concern for Working Children Damodar Acharya said that according to an estimate, there were 22,000 migrant workers in the district. Of them, 12,000 were seasonal workers while the remaining were permanent migrant workers. Often, they suffered harassment from different quarters.

Congress leader Pramod Madhwaraj said that it was essential to treat migrant workers with respect. The number of native workers in Udupi district was declining. Most of the work including that of transporting fish at Malpe Fisheries Harbour was now being handled by migrant workers, he said.

Ganapati welcomed the gathering. Migrant Workers' Association district unit president Basavaraj B. Hangargi, Building and Other Construction Migrant Workers Association district unit president Sangappa, association senior leader Devamma Adiudupi, Udupi councillor Devendra Prabhu and Rotary Club president Nagaraj Tantri were present.

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