VISAKHAPATNAM: With no life insurance and spot risk allowance, thousands of agricultural labourers of North coastal Andhra are heading towards the metro’s in pursuit of jobs in booming construction industry. Though the jobs are risky, the fat daily wages are attracting thousands of agricultural labourers.
As many as 1.5 lakh labourers from of Visakhapatnam, Vizianagaram and Srikakulam are working in the construction industry at various cities including Bangalore, Chennai, Mumbai and Hyderabad.
Though the government has noticed the large number of migration from villages to cities, the Labour department has not taken any steps to arrest the outward migration. The UPA government’s flagship scheme NREGS aiming to provide work at one’s own village, has been mismatched with wages in the construction industry.
“Normally in the village a labourer gets `250 and 300 per day in the farm work. However, the same labourer is getting `500 and 600 per day in construction activity. A mason in the region is being offered `400 maximum per day where as mason is getting `750 and above per day in the metros. Even we are getting the work at our own place in the NREGS, but the wage is very less,” Ch Joga Rao, a mason, who is presently working in Bangalore told Express.
Agents from the private construction companies are touring in the villages for bulk recruitments of masons and helpers. They will take them to the cities on their own expenditure. However, there is no direct relation with the workers and management of the company, said Joga Rao and added that due to the two building mishaps in Chennai, the government and people have started paying attention on the issue.
A senior official of Labour Department has said that the government is sponsoring several schemes to the unorganised workers. However, no worker is interested in the schemes. The government is not changing the guidelines and rules timely against the welfare schemes of the workers in general and unorganised labourers in particular, the official lamented. The life style of the migrated families is far better when compared to the condition of local labourer.
Meanwhile, during the past one decade the state government has provided skill development training programme through several institutions in which a large number of youth were trained as masons and are working in the construction industry across the country, the senior official of labour said.
Speaking on the problem of migrations, Minister for Rural Development and Housing Kimidi Mrunalini accepted the fact the the high wages in the construction industry is attracting the local work force. She said that the government is paying `1 crore per day to 7.5 lakh labourers under NREGS.
In fact, there is no data on the migrations from the villages. Even after 10 years of implementation of the NREGS, no minister or official has reviewed the impact of the scheme. All the departments have been engaged with busy works, majority of the works were not useful to the people, said OB Bhagavantha Rao, a HR Consultant. Responding on the issues, Minister of Labour and Employment Kinjarapu Atchennaidu said that the government is planning to implement an Integrated Plan exclusively for the workers in the unorganised sector.