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Lockdown | Labourers face hunger in industrial areas near Jaipur

Majority unpaid, asked to vacate rooms by landlords, unable to get provisions

Industrial labourers from other States, who have been rendered jobless by the lockdown enforced to contain the spread of novel coronavirus, are faced with widespread hunger at their habitations in the Sitapura and Sanganer industrial areas near Jaipur. The Rajasthan government’s Labour Department is yet to ascertain their number.

The inter-State migrant workers came here from Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, Odisha and West Bengal. Activists working for extending relief in the industrial areas said on Wednesday that the majority of workers had not been paid by their contractors, while their landlords were pushing them to leave their rooms and kirana (neighbourhood groceries) stores were refusing to sell provisions to them.

Jaipur Collector Joga Ram had issued an order for industrial labour on March 26, asking industry owners to make the payment of wages to workers for the month and arrange food and other provisions for them through industrial associations.

Even after the big exodus of labour on March 30, a huge concentration of labourers has been left behind in the two industrial areas. Following the Collector’s visit to the areas, the Labour Department started a survey to find out the number of workers who needed immediate assistance.

Urgently needed

Civil rights groups working under the banner of Jan Prayaas said here that since the labourers had cooking arrangements at home, they should be provided with dry rations for a month, irrespective of their numbers and whether the industry does anything or not.

In a memorandum submitted to State Labour Secretary Neeraj K. Pawan, the Jan Prayaas said that Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot’s assurance that “no one would go to bed hungry during the lockdown” should be a universally implemented scheme for all. “The distribution of dry rations must begin urgently now and in all earnestness and swiftness for all,” Kavita Srivastava, People’s Union for Civil Liberties-Rajasthan president, said.

Mukesh Goswami of Rajasthan Unorganised Labour Union said the distribution of food packets by the administration was ad hoc and unsystematic. “Since the labourers were complaining that they were not receiving food, we have begun redistributing about 2,000 packets a day in the industrial areas,” he said.

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Printable version | Jun 2, 2020 1:49:33 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/lockdown-labourers-face-hunger-in-industrial-areas-near-jaipur/article31293673.ece

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