City Police Commissioner T.J. Jose said they had started collecting details on the number of migrant labourers working in the city and the projects in which they were involved.

City Police Commissioner T.J. Jose has said that the police have taken up an initiative to collect information on migrant labourers working in the city. He was speaking at a Janamaithri meeting held here on Saturday.

Mr. Jose said that the police had started collecting details on the number of migrant labourers working in the city and the projects in which they were involved.

Mushrooming of migrant labourers’ camps in residential localities in the city was among the major concerns raised by representatives of various residents’ associations who participated in the meeting. The residents’ association members requested the police to introduce a system to issue identity cards to these labourers.

“When a house is rented out to a large group of migrant labourers or a labour camp is opened in a residential colony, it creates a lot of apprehension among the residents of these colonies. These people are complete strangers to the residents and we have no idea about their background or if they have any criminal records. To address this issue the system of identity cards for migrant labourers should be introduced,” a participant said.

However, Mr. Jose said that the police did not have the authority to issue identity cards for migrant labourers. “Like the rest of us, migrant labourers from other States have the right to freely travel and work in any place of their choice in India. We cannot insist or force them to have special identity cards just because they do not belong to our State. We should not forget that a large number of Keralites are also working in other States,” he said.

“Issuing identity cards to migrant labourers does not fall under the jurisdiction of the police. Only the contractors employing them can issue identity cards. What the police can do is keep a tab and count on migrant labourers working here and look out for suspicious activities. Residents association and civic organisations should help the police in this endeavour,” Mr Jose said. He added that the State government, in consultation with the Labour Department, was planning to implement a more effective monitoring system for employing migrant labourers in the State. Deputy Commissioner of Police P. Vimaladithya also attended.

Various issues

Issue of vehicle parking in main city centres and footpath, poor condition of roads, issue of drivers not stopping buses at bus bays, encroachment upon roads by commercial enterprises and unrestricted use of loudspeakers were among the issues discussed at the meeting.