Telangana

Jobs dry up, agricultural labourers lose crores in wages

Agriculture fields wear a deserted look as labourers find no work owing to the continuing dry spell in Koratikal village of Neredigonda mandal in Adilabad District. Photo: S. Harpal Singh

Agriculture fields wear a deserted look as labourers find no work owing to the continuing dry spell in Koratikal village of Neredigonda mandal in Adilabad District. Photo: S. Harpal Singh   | Photo Credit: S. Harpal Singh

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It is not just the farmers who are feeling the pinch of the prolonged dry spell. A lot many poor agricultural labourers are losing several crores of rupees in wages with there being no work in the fields for about a month.

There are over 6 lakh male, and almost an equal number of female job cardholders under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) in Adilabad. While most women are employed at construction sites, the women essentially work as agriculture labourers, and most have had no work following the temporary suspension of the MGNREGS during the monsoon.

A woman worker is paid Rs.150 a day during the agriculture season, which means that every labourer who has had no work for the last 30 days has lost a precious Rs.4,500 in wages during the period. This translates to wage losses of running to crores of rupees.

“Leave alone work, we are facing hardships due to the escalation of prices of essential commodities and other things of daily use,” points out Merugu Vijaya, a labourer from New Housing Board Colony.

“The price of onions, which was Rs.5 for 250 gm in early June, is Rs.7 now,” she adds, emphasising the crisis they were facing at the moment.

“The retail price of rice has also risen from Rs.20 a kg to Rs.24 a kg. It meets part of our requirement as the rice from the fair price shop does not last long. The price of edible oil has also gone up by Rs.10 per kg,” complains Badevad Laxmi, who has six children to feed.

The labourers are finding it difficult to pay their rentals which is between Rs.500 and Rs.1,000, depending on the size and shape of the house.

They have by now developed a routine of idling under the large neem tree in their locality, awaiting employment that has, well, dried up.

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Printable version | Dec 15, 2019 3:57:02 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/telangana/Jobs-dry-up-agricultural-labourers-lose-crores-in-wages/article11255873.ece

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