Kerala

Migrant labourers to get a better deal

Migrant labourers at the launch of ‘Swachh Bhai Swasth Bhai’ programme in Kottayam on Sunday  

A 10-month-long inspection covering 554 migrant labourer camps was done by the district administration as ground work before the ‘Swachh Bhai, Swasth Bhai’ project was launched here on Sunday.

Inaugurating the project ‘Swachh Bhai, Swasth Bhai’ aimed at improving the facilities at the immigrant labour camps in the district, Minister for Forests and Transport Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan said the State government would take focused steps to improve the sanitation and health facilities for immigrant labourers.

The ground work that preceded the project launch commenced with the visit of the authorities to the more than 500 camps to get first-hand information about the situation existing there. Camps where more than five labourers were staying were taken up for survey.

In the first-phase, 554 such camps were brought under the radar. After the inspection, 49 camps were closed and labourers moved to other camps in May 2015. After six months, in November-December, the second phase of inspection was carried out with new benchmarks. By this time most of the owners of the camps had improved facilities. However, another 48 camps which were found wanting, were closed down.

According to District Collector U.V. Jose, who spearheaded the initiative, the effort improved infrastructure facilities at the labour camps and better facilities for waste management and sanitation have been provided. It was also helpful in ensuring identity cards for the labourers and keeping a watchful eye on the camp owners by various departments.

In the next phase, labourers would be provided with health cards and other identification documents by the local bodies concerned. Immigrant labourers working in the hotel and restaurant sector would have to get a doctor’s certificate on Hepatitis A and B and Typhoid. Those working in other sectors would have to get health certificates on skin, eye and throat diseases and on general health condition. All of them would have to get screened for malaria.

Mr Jose said that only labourers with the necessary documents would be allowed to work in the district from April 2016. In addition, a medical check-up every six months would be made mandatory.

Hinting that such efforts were mandatory, Mr. Radhakrishnan said at the project launch that earlier the presence of migrant labourers was confined to the unskilled labour market.

However, today, the labourers from other States had made their presence in other sectors also. “Their role in the development of the State is crucial and the immigrant labour force in the State deserves a much better deal,” he said.

Mary Sebastian, vice president of district panchayat, presided over the launching of the programme on Saturday. Kottayam Municipal chairperson P.R. Sona was the guest of honour.

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Printable version | Apr 22, 2021 9:02:39 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/migrant-labourers-to-get-a-better-deal/article8239435.ece

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