Migrant labour camps found flouting hygiene norms

Pre-monsoon checks held at 30 camps; notices served on five

Published - June 07, 2019 02:06 am IST - KOCHI

In an ongoing annual inspection drive, the Ernakulam District Labour Office conducted pre-monsoon checks at nearly 30 migrant labour camps across the district in the past week.

“Conducted in collaboration with the Health Department, efforts have been doubled in the wake of Nipah to take stock of hygiene in the camps,” said K. Sreelal, Regional Joint Labour Commissioner, Ernakulam.

According to informal estimates, there are over 1,000 migrant labour camps in the district.

Of the camps that were inspected in Kochi, Aluva, Angamaly, Perumbavoor, and Muvattupuzha, five were found to be in unhygienic condition and were issued notices, according to a Labour office source.

“Some camps lack proper toilets, waste disposal mechanisms, and adequate drinking water. During the monsoon, water leaking into dwellings and stagnant rainwater can cause health problems,” said an assistant labour officer.

“Notices have been issued to the contractor or owner of the construction site where the camp has been set up. They have been directed to address the issue in 40 days, following which another inspection will be conducted,” Mr. Sreelal said. If the owner or contractor fails to comply with the order, a stop memo will be issued to prevent further work on the site. “Of the estimated 6 lakh migrant labour population in the district, most live in overcrowded dwellings where chances of outbreak of infectious diseases are high,” said Benoy Peter, executive director, Centre for Migration and Inclusive Development (CMID).

Voice messages

“Considering language barriers and long working hours, migrant workers are excluded from health warnings or news about infections,” he said. CMID is circulating voice messages among migrant workers in Assamese, Bengali, Tamil, and Odia on Nipah, its symptoms and prevention.

Dr. Mathews Nambelil, District Programme Officer, National Health Mission (NHM), said, “On their routine visits to migrant labour camps, health inspectors have been directed to check for signs of high fever.”

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