Other States

Kerala floods: registration of migrant workers emphasised

During the crisis, the Odisha govt. did not have a list of its migrant workers

Having learnt their lessons the hard way in the recent Kerala disaster, migrant workers from Odisha have now demanded proper registration of the workforce heading for other States and insurance cover for wage loss in the event of exigencies.

Relatives of workers, organisations advocating welfare of migrant labourers and labour union leaders narrated the trauma experienced by workers at the Odisha Vikash Conclave-2018.

“There was absolute chaos in the efforts to bring migrant workers back from rain-hit Kerala. Such was the situation that family members had no information about their near and dear ones for days,” said Sudarsan Rout of Satabhaya village in Kendrapara district. About 200 people from the village were working in the plywood industry in Kerala.

Mobile numbers

While rain and floods were wreaking havoc in Kerala, the Odisha government did not have a list of its migrant workers. Worried family members were providing mobile numbers of the workers stranded in Kerala and the same was being forwarded to the Special Relief Commissioner of Kerala.

Plywood industry

As per a study, migrants from 22 districts of Odisha were working in Kerala. While traditional fishers from coastal Odisha work on boats that operate from various harbours in Kerala, unemployed youths from Kandhamal, Dhenkanal, Kendrapara and Kalahandi are a major source of workers in Kerala’s plywood industry.

Similarly, women and girls from Balangir, Malkangiri, Sundargarh, Kandhamal, Ganjam, Nabarangpur and Rayagada work in the textile and apparel sector of Kerala.

“Although the Inter-State Migrant Workmen Act, 1979, makes it mandatory for registration of migrant workers, the same is hardly practiced. Labour contractors and agents send hundreds of workers illegally to other States which makes it difficult for the source State to identify and track the workers,” said Umi Daniel, Director of Migration and Education of Aide et Action International, a non-government organisation.

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Printable version | Jun 3, 2020 10:46:45 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/kerala-floods-registration-of-migrant-workers-emphasised/article24782361.ece

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