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Agents urging returned migrant workers in Ganjam to go back to work in Surat

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Agents have informally began urging returned migrant workers in Odisha’s Ganjam district to put together for going back to Surat’s textile industries when common prepare companies are restored.

Several returned migrant workers in Beguniapada, Polasara and Aska, who didn’t want to be named, stated they had been being inspired to return to Surat as early as attainable, over telephone calls and private conferences by individuals who claimed to be engaged on behalf of mill house owners in Surat. “We are being urged to reach Surat and bargain with mill owners for better working conditions and other facilities,” they stated.

“This means that the returned migrant workers are being motivated to return back to Surat without waiting for proper registration by the State governments of Odisha and Gujarat,” stated Pramod Jena, a social activist working with migrant workers.

Without registration

It additionally means that the method of excluding these migrant workers from the advantages supplied underneath the Inter-State Migrant Workmen (Regulation of Employment and Conditions of Service) Act, 1979 has began once more. According to this legislation, inter-State migrant workers are to be registered by licensed labour contractors.

But nearly all Odia migrant workers from Ganjam district attain Surat for employment by way of an off-the-cuff community and never by a registered labour contractor. According to sources, at current, round 8,000 migrant workers, who migrated by labour contractors, are registered with the Labour Department’s places of work in Berhampur and Chhatrapur in Ganjam district. In 2005, this quantity was solely 456.

Following the COVID-19 pandemic, over 2 lakh individuals have returned to Ganjam and the vast majority of them had been working in Surat. There isn’t any official information. Unofficial estimates declare that round 7 lakh Odia migrant workers had been employed in Surat and most of them had been from Ganjam.

Proviso dodged

They are employed in a whole lot of small and medium scale textile models in Surat to function energy looms. “These units are able to dodge the Inter-State Migrant Workmen Act by showing that they employ less than 10 persons. Several units operate from a single premise as the mill owners term 10 power loom machines as a single unit to dodge the labour law,” stated Lokanath Mishra, convener of Link Workers’ Scheme, a undertaking for Odia migrant workers.

“Because of this large-scale absence of registration, recently, the Gujarat government stated in the Gujarat High Court that it was committed to pay its share of return travel fare for only 7,512 out of a total 22.5 lakh migrant workers from other States, including Odisha, citing the Inter-State Migrant Workers Act to claim that the law was only applicable to registered migrant workers,” stated State secretary of the Communist Party of India-Marxist, Ali Kishor Patnaik.

‘Escape from poverty’

“In Ganjam, the neo-migrants are motivated by some old workers who act as informal labour agents for mill owners. The lure of instant income, escape from the treachery of poverty at home, as well as family pressure motivates less educated youngsters of Ganjam to migrate for work in textile units in Surat,” stated Devidutta Rath, one other social activist working with migrant workers. It is alleged that the brokers of Surat’s mill house owners function in the agricultural areas of Ganjam district to prepare workers for a fee.

Mr. Patnaik and Mr. Mishra urged the Odisha authorities to register each the returnees in addition to the workers who’ve stayed back in Surat, and to press upon Gujarat authorities for his or her registration at their office underneath the Inter-State Migrant Workmen Act, in order that they don’t endure in future.

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