It’s migration time, for migrants too

Survival instincts: Subramani with wife and children. –

Survival instincts: Subramani with wife and children. –   | Photo Credit: Photo: M. Balaji

M. Gunasekaran

They came to Tirupur with dreams to fulfill; now they flee from here to realise the same

When Subramani and Girija decided to migrate to Tirupur

from Ambur they had a dream: to give their children a good education. After a decade they are on the verge of another migration. This time, Subramani is looking towards Mauritius for a better job.

Tirupur, known as migrants’ paradise, has not helped them realise their dream. With the knitwear export trade affected by an appreciating rupee and prices of essential items soaring, the Rs. 7,000-a-month he is earning now has become irrelevant.

He has already attended an interview conducted by the Mauritius garment unit that is offering Rs. 13,000 as take-home salary. Mr. Subramani (43) started as a tailor in garment units here and graduated to a small-time tailoring contractor.“Whenever I get contract I employ my fellow tailors. But, the work does not last for more than a week. And again I have to knock on the doors of hosiery units for job. There is no fixed timing and permanent work here,” he explains.

He says he cannot eke out a decent living here with Rs.7,000. His son Selvakumar, who is studying in Standard X at Nanjappa Corporation Boys Higher Secondary School, nurtures a dream to become a software professional. His 12-year-old sister Priya longs for a teaching career. Youngest brother Hari Vishnu (9) says he wants to work in a bank.

“I cannot depend on the job here anymore. I have to give my children a good education. So I have decided to leave the place,” an exasperated Mr. Subramani reasons.

Ms. Girija’s biggest grouse is the unchecked and unjustifiable rise in house rent. They are living in a small house at Maniyakaranpalayam in Tirupur. “We are paying Rs.1,700 towards rent and the house owner has raised it to Rs.3,000.. We have decided to vacate the house as we cannot afford to pay it. The Government should do something to control rent rates,” she says. The home maker finds it difficult to cope up with the timings of garment units.

“The timings are not suitable for women. It would be fine if the work starts at 8.30 a.m. and ends at 6 p.m. daily. We get round-the-clock job continuously for two or three days and remain at home for weeks together without work..”

Except the rise in school van charges, there was no major increase in any other education related expenses. What is worrying Mrs. Girija is the steep rise in prices of rice, grocery, milk, vegetables and meat. Many times they had to borrow from moneylenders for sustenance. “When our children demand a school bag, uniform or shoes, we cannot provide them immediately. We fulfill their requirements one by one,” Mrs. Girija says.

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