Migration Narratives: The SHRAM Blog

Workshop on Plight of Migrant Workers Organized by Adhikar

The workshop on plight of migrant workers, organized by Adhikar, was held on 30th October 2015 at the DRDA Conference Hall, Khordha.The workshop started with the opening remarks by Senior Employee of Adhikar Ms. Malaya Manjari Mishra. Ms. Mishra briefed about the Aims, Objectives and Agenda of the Workshop.

Honorable Collector of Khordha, Mr. Nirajana Sahoo, was the Chief Guest of the meeting and inaugurated a one day workshop by Lightning the Lamp. Mr. Sahoo in his speech emphasized on the need for sensitization of migrant workers about their rights and the laws related to the protection of their rights.

Mr. Sahoo in his speech emphasized on the need for sensitization of migrant workers about their rights and the laws related to the protection of their rights

He stressed that the welfare of migrant workers lies in making them aware about their rights and laws for them. He emphasized on the immediate need for registration and providing of identity cards to migrant workers at the Panchayat level. He said, “The organizations working for the welfare of migrant workers and migrant workers themselves are divided. So they fail to pitch a strong voice against the plight of migrant workers”. He demanded a memorandum from the people, organizations, social activists and elected Panchayati Raj representatives present at the meeting to the district administration so that the district administration could prepare a new roadmap for the development of the migrant workers. He also talked about active involvement of District Labor Department in this issue. Mr. Sahoo told that the district administration is working to sensitize the PRI members on the issue of migrant workers in the near future.


District Additional Labor officer Mr. Dilip Kumar Pani spoke about the laws related to the protection of migrant workers, their usefulness and how those can be best implemented towards the welfare of the workers. Mr. Pani told how the labor contractors, agents and brokers are using various unscrupulous means and methods to take poor and underprivileged people to the far off places in the name of providing employment and those poor and innocent people fall to their trap and ended up being exploited, harassed, tortured, beaten up and in some cases they have to lose their lives. He was of the view that migration is not a crime nor cannot  you stop it completely but the way poor and underprivileged people are being lured for employment to outside state and being harassed and tortured repeatedly. During the course of discussions that took place, one important case came to the light in the Tangi Block. One Ms. Mita Behera of Mangalajodi of Tangi block, Khordha district gave a chilling story of hers at a which she encountered at a Construction Site in Chennai. She and a group of people from her village were taken to Chennai to work at a construction site by a labor contactor from Ganjam. The total wages of her was Rs.9500. After one month of work, she was only given Rs.1500 and given Rs. 8000 by cheque.It was a post-dated cheque and told her she can withdraw the money after one week from the account. There were no facilities for the workers so that they can live safe and healthy. When she checked it, the cheque got bounced. She repeatedly called the contractor about this but no communication from the labor contractor happened. She came to ShramikSahajog Kendra of Adhikar at Tangi for help. With the effort from Adhikar people and continuous follow up of one month, the labor contractor was forced to transfer her total amount of Rs.8000. Mr. Pani told the audience that as per Indian Wage Act, 1948, a worker has the right to get minimum wage set by the state, he or she is working, under the law. Any violation of the said law, if found, the employer can be prosecuted under Indian law. But the victim has to lodge a complain before Labor Department within one year of incident.

Taking part in the discussion, Adhikar’s President Mr. Md. N. Amin stressed on the need for the combined effort of Government, state machinery, voluntary organizations, media and civil society for the development of migrant workers.

Adhikar’s President Mr. Md. N. Amin stressed on the need for the combined effort of Government, state machinery, voluntary organizations, media and civil society for the development of migrant workers.

 He called for more sensitivity of state machinery towards reducing the plight of migrant workers. Putting blame on each other and crying for the shortage of resources would not help the cause. “District labor department can take the help of organizations, working for the upliftment of the migrant workers in Khordha district,” he added.

Secretary of Adhikar and currently heading the migration project of Adhikar Mr. Govinda Chandra Dalabehera told the audience about the work done and the steps taken by his organization on the issue of plight of migrant workers. Migrants enjoy the least rights, even among right-less group of poor workers and laborers. Interstate migrants have such weak bargaining power that they would require far greater legislative and non-legislative support from governmental and non-governmental agencies. ADHIKAR, through its migration project has been appealing the District Administration, Labor Department, PRI members, and Trade Union Leaders to make changes in the existing policy and procedure in favor of migrants. To facilitate safe migration and to integrate the migrant workers into the mainstream development process, Adhikar is closely working with TATA TRUST, Mumbai in launching the PROJECT SAMMAN in the Tangi block of Khordha of Odisha and Surat city of Gujarat. Adhikaris promoting a self-sustainable migrant resource center to be run by migrants. Within next five years, this center will have better network with all the support services from govt. departments. Now the Shramik Sahajog Kendra at Tangi and Surat are accepted and recognized at all levels. People have now come to know them as migrant resource center. The information and counseling has been very influencing as a result, the footfall of migrants have been significantly increased. Mr. Dalabehera made detailed consultation with the elected representatives and representatives from various voluntary organizations, PRI members, migrant workers and media people while preparing the memorandum to be submitted to the district administration.

The following recommendations were made to the district administration:

  1. Adequate resources and authority to be given to Sarapanchs at the Panchayat level to register migrant workers.
  2. NGOs, working for the migrants should be included in the Block and District level migration committees.
  3. Ensuring the families of migrant workers to be included in various developmental and welfare project and schemes on priority basis.
  4. Migrantworkers should be provided with Govt. recognized Identity cards.
  5. Migrant workers should be given on job training at the block level and their placement to be assured.
  6. At the Block level, single window systems to be launched so that the migrant workers can represent their problems and issues easily and can get the desired benefits.
  7. Effort from labor department to sensitize and counsel migrant workers
  8. Organizing awareness camps at Panchayat level by labor department
  9. Identification & registration of labor contractors and strict implementation of labor laws related to be ensured by the labor department officials.
  10. Simplification of registration process of Construction Workers inconstruction & other Workers’ Welfare Board (CoWB).
  11. Ensuring co-ordinationamong NGOs, PRIs and Govt. machinery by district administration

Other notable dignitaries, present at the meeting include, Tangi Block Chairperson Ms. GitanjaliPatasani, Assistant Project Director, DRDA, Khordha Ms. D.S. Jena and many Sarpanchas and Jila Parisad Memebrs of Tangi Block and migrant workers of Tangi Block attended the meeting. Ms. Patasani called for more resources at the Panchayat level to register migrant workers and most of the cases the Panchayat level representatives do not have authority to do so. At the same time, both Ms. Patasani and Ms. Jena thanked the effort of Adhikar and pressed the need for more and more organizations and volunteers should come forward in helping the migrant workers. PRI members and migrant workers demanded the issue of labor cards to everybody within a stipulated time period. Ms. Malaya Manjari Mishra threw light on the issues faced by the migrant workers at the grass root level and the problems faced by the persons like him while fighting for the cause of migrant workers. In the end, Ms. Malaya Manjari Mishra thanked everybody on the behalf of Adhikar for attending the workshop and contributing to the best of their ability in form of useful suggestions and advices and making it successful one.

Participants at the Workshop

  1. Migrant workers from villages of the Tangi block- Sundarpur, Mangalajodi, Bhusandapur, Ratanpur, Nalsingh, Kantalbai, Achutpur, Lendoo, Balipatapur&Kuhudi
  2. Sarpanchs of Badapokharia, Rameswar, Sunderpur, Ratanpur, Pariorada and Tangi
  3. GitanjaliPatasani, Chairperson Tangi Block
  4. SukantaMangaraj, JilaParisad Member 9 no. zone
  5. NGOs: DSS-BalipatanaKhordha, YCDA-Bouda, Pratikar-Bhubaneswar, CARD-Khordha, Madhyam Foundation- Bhubaneswar
  6. Officials: Assistant Labor Officer-Khordha, Assistant Project Director (APD) DRDA-Khordha, Program Manager-State Aids CellKhordha
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