KCR faces flak over migrant labour crisis

Migrant labour attacked their employers and police near IIT Hyderabad which is on the north-western outskirts of the city on Wednesday. They damaged police vehicles with sticks and stones. Most attackers are construction labour and have even built the IIT buildings.  The area is in Hyderabad’s Patancheru-Bollaram-Rudraram belt, which is the biggest industrial belt here and is said to be Asia’s largest chemical hub. It employs lakhs of migrant labourers from Bihar, Jharkhand and a few other states. The repercussions of the lockdown on migrant labour are surfacing here sharply. With no work or wages, the workers have been left to their fates and that too thousands of kilometres away from their homes without food and basic facilities. Shiva Goud, a resident in the area, told The Daily Guardian, “There are lakhs of migrant labour in Patancheru-Bollaram-Rudraram industrial belt.

With the rices of essential goods skyrocketing, the labour don’t have the money to buy them. Many companies are not paying salaries. They cannot survive on an empty stomach.” Reacting to the situation, Marri Shashidhar Reddy, the former ViceChairman of the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), said, “It’s like demonetization, due to sudden lockdown thousands of migrant labourers are struck in Hyderabad. They have to be sent back. They are emotionally disturbed. The state or Central governments cannot instill confidence in them. It’s a complete governmental failure.” He added that the migrant labour are staring at the wall.  Environmentalist Prof Purushotham Reddy said, “It’s the failure of both Central and state governments. Their lethargy led to the migrant labour crisis. What is the NDMA doing? The governments suddenly announced almost two months of lockdown.

So both the governments should provide them basic facilities now.” The migrant labourers have other votaries. Rachakonda (Eastern Hyderabad) Police Commissioner Mohan Bhagwat said, “We are supporting around 5,000 people from Odisha, Jharkhand, West Bengal in our limits with food. We collaborated with many NGOs and GHMC and supplied them with food, ration, sanitizers. We conducted medical camps too.» Food doesn’t seem to be the only thing needed. Most of them want salaries from their companies or want to be sent to their homes. There is potential for this unrest to emerge as a law and order problem. The Telangana government, however, doesn’t think migrant labour is facing any problems in the state. It has also expressed interest to get more labour from Bihar for the harvest season.  Even the High Court of Telangana expressed concern over the migrant labour›s hardships. “Why can’t the state government coordinate with its neighbouring states and permit migrant workers to reach their places after obtaining appropriate permissions in accordance with law,» the court had asked.

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