Employers eager to bring back migrant workers to Kerala

Subject : Working Conditions | Source(s) : New Indian Express | Date : 10-Oct-2020

Though a full fledged migrant flow to Kerala is yet to pick up momentum due to the absence of public transport, around 50 buses have been reaching Kerala from West Bengal and other parts of North India daily. These buses were sent to Bengal or other parts from Kerala by various employers to bring the migrants back. Speaking to Express, Liby Johnson, executive director of Gram Vikas, Odisha, said "we have been witnessing at least 50 buses per day to Kerala from North Indian states especially from West Bengal. These buses all were bearing Kerala registration. It seems the employers in Kerala are eager to bring them back to the state to revive the sagging fortunes of key sectors impacted by the Covid-19," he said. "We think around 30-40 buses are now operating between Kerala and North-eastern states," said Binu John, president Contract Carriage Operators' Association. The data compiled by the labour department shows that in one week only 9,717 migrants have returned to the state with Kannur registering the highest number of migrant workers 4627. These data were mainly the migrants who reached the state through the limited number of trains. Although the contractors were told to inform the details of migrants they brought back to the state, it seems they are yet to register the full details of the migrant workers they brought to the state. The data of the labour department shows that after the restrictions were eased, only 663 migrants have reached Ernakulam which accounts the highest concentration of migrant labourers in the state. Meanwhile, the state is likely to move an ordinance against the unobstructed movement of the inter-state migrant workers which is expected to throw a spanner in the Covid control measures of the state. The labour department has given a proposal to the state government to bring an ordinance. The state government will soon take a call on this matter. A senior labour department officer also told Express that the state government would soon launch an app for registering the details of the migrant workers who reach the state. Once the app is launched, all the details of the migrant workers have to be registered with the app for the better management of the migrant work force in Kerala, he said. According to experts who work in the field level, the data compiled by the labour department is not accurate. The labour department data on migrants is based on train bound migrants which is limited as per the current scenario. There are no direct trains to Kerala from eastern states. Majority of the migrants who reached Kerala have arrived here either by buses or flight, said Benoy Peter, executive director of Centre for Migration and Inclusive Development (CMID).

Link : https://www.newindianexpress.com/states/kerala/2020/oct/07/migrant-flow-to-kerala-picks-up-around-50-buses-reach-state-per-day-2207075.html

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