Migration of labourers from western Odisha

November 20, 2011 at 8:23 am Leave a comment

Following are some articles taken from different news papers:

22 labour contractors from AP held in Bolangir

Bolangir police has apprehended about 22 labour ‘contractors’ from Andhra Pradesh at Kantabanji, about 400 km from here.

Special squad of the Labour Department had conducted a raid on the hotel they were staying in and taken them into custody. They were alleged to have not carried valid documents for taking labourers from western Odisha districts with them.

Kantabanji in Odisha’s Bolangir is known as major centre for interstate migration of labourers. According to a Labour Department officer, the Andhra Pradesh residents were staying in a lodge and were mobilising their local agent to send batches of labourers to work for them. The labour ‘contractors’ were charged under Section 371, 374, 367, 368 and 420 of IPC.

“Usually those who require labour force in Andhra Pradesh don’t come to Odisha to take labourers with them. They had probably come to Kantabanji to streamline groups of labour agents who would have been assigned with task to send labourers on a later stage,” said Umi Daniel, an expert on migration issues.

Mr. Daniel said sending labourers to work in other State is a cumbersome process if provisions of Interstate Workmen Act are followed scrupulously.

“According to provisions, a local labour contractor has to register him with district labour office. He will have to furnish details of labourers to be sent to other State. Other details such as wage, mode of transportation, address of destination point and other facilities are also submitted. But these processes are hardly followed that leads to torture of poor labourers at their workplaces,” he said. At Kantabanji, unofficial estimate says, the volume of annual labour trade will not be less than Rs. 70 crore.

This year, the population of migrating labourers from western Odisha district is likely to swell in comparison to previous district due to imminent drought like situation.

Crop failure

“Bolangir has witnessed about 90 per cent of crop failure this year. Getting migrant labourers from hinterlands of western Odisha district would be very easy.

Failure of Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act has made lower middleclass more vulnerable.

This year, many first timers will be drafted into existing force of migrant labourers,” said Balgopal Mishra, a prominent Western Odisha leader.

Mr. Mishra said there should be an immediate action plan to prevent “distress” migration to other States.

Lakhs of migrant labourers especially from poverty stricken KBK region of Orissa go to Rangareddy, Nalgonda and Visakhapatnam districts of Andhra Pradesh every year to work in brick kilns.

According to an estimate 3,46,471 and 2,78,641 labourers from Kalahandi and Bolangir had gone to Andhra Pradesh as brick kiln workers in 2008-09.

Other two districts Nuapada and Sonepur of Odisha also send sizeable migrant labourer population to Andhra Pradesh.

However, officially total number of labourers from Odisha migrating to Andhra Pradesh hardly crosses one lakh.

Migration: Middlemen operate sans licence

BARGARH: Kalahandi, Balangir, Nuapada, Sonepur and drought-prone Padampur sub- division of Bargarh district register the highest migration. Families move out lock, stock and barrel after harvesting season only to return before Nuakhai the following year.

 Those who migrate are poor peasants, marginal farmers and landless people whose sordid tales of torture and exploitation year after year remain unheard.

With government welfare measures failing to trickle down to them and the district administration insensitive to their plight, the labourers fall prey to labour contractors.

In Gaiselet block in Padampur sub-division, the district administration virtually has no record or inkling of migration. The survey undertaken in four out of 12  panchayats of the block, covering 30 villages, revealed that a record number of 11,220 people migrated from the villages in search of livelihood after Nuakhai this year. Among those who have migrated, 9,396 are working in Odisha while the rest have moved out of State, as per a survey conducted by a youth club here.

 Worse, no labour contractor has been issued licence to export labourers from the district, a fact corroborated by District Labour Officer RK Behera. No survey has been undertaken by the district administration to ascertain the number of migrants.

The DLO said no licence had been issued to any labour contractor to recruit manpower from the district. He even feigned ignorance about any migration from the district.

No check on migration here

SONEPUR: Normalcy may have been restored in Kantabanji after Friday’s unrest but it has exposed the insensitivity of the authorities towards trafficking of labourers.

It was for the first time that the police have come down with an iron hand on labour agents from the region. The modus operandi has always been pretty same — pay handsome amount as advance and on reaching the workplace in some alien land they are forced to work for long hours under inhumane conditions. Unable to bear the barbaric torture the labourers escape at times leaving behind their legitimate dues and even family on several occasions.

With the district administration unmindful of labourers’s  plight and the District Labour Office (DLO) neither proactive in registering labour contractors nor keeping a track of the number of people migrating, the agents take all the liberty.

Sonepur District Collector Gagan Bihari Swain had written to all sarpanches to notify in case of more than five persons migrating or being recruited by labour contractors. Under such circumstances they should obtain permission from the District Labour Officer. More than 500 people from Mohoda, Babupali, Julunda, Patharkhandi, Aamamunda under Julunda panchayat in Dungripali police limits besides the  Bankigirdi villages and Kapasira have allegedly been lured to migrate while official records put the number at 28 from Menda and Nagpali.

DLO Madan Mohan Paik said steps were being taken to prevent trafficking of labourers from the district.


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Entry filed under: Balangir, Bargarh, Dadan Sramik Migration, Kalahandi, Nuapada, Poverty and Hunger in Koshal region, Region watch, Subarnapur.

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