The Health Department of the Kalamassery Municipality on Monday issued show cause notice to eight hostels near the Kalamassery Industrial area citing unhygienic conditions. The hostels accommodate migrant workers who are working with various sites in the area.
According to the health officials, the migrant workers were not even provided with basic amenities and adequate sanitation facilities.
“Unofficial visits on this sites yielded more results than official visits. Most of the hostels near the industrial area are functioning flouting the laws. Some of these facilities follow unhealthy practices including linking septic tank outlets directly to the drains. We have identified eight such facilities which work under unhygienic conditions and have issued show cause notices to them,” said Health Inspector A S Navas.
He said the migrant workers were not even aware of their rights for a proper accommodation and the hostel owners were exploiting their ignorance. “We found out that most of the rooms are crammed with more than 10 people and do not have adequate sanitation facilities,” he added.
Being an industrial area consisting of about 142 companies, the number of migrant population is high in Kalamassery area. There are also allegations that the owners of the hostels are collecting hefty amount as rent from the migrant labourers. The average rent amount per person in these hostels is `3,500 a month.
“We are left with no other choice than to live in these hostels as it is difficult for us to find rooms some elsewhere. More than five people live in each rooms though its not spacious enough to even accommodate two people. Moreover, the condition of the toilet blocks are pathetic,” said Ram (name changed). A majority of the migrant workers residing in these hostels are from West Bengal, Assam, Uttar Pradesh and Orissa.
However, the owners of the hostels denied the allegations and said it was to the contractor of the company which they rented out the rooms. “We are following all the rules of the Municipality,” says Nazeer one of the owners of the hostels.
Meanwhile, the Health Department is planning to conduct more raids in the coming days. “It is compulsory to register the name of the migrant workers in police stations, health centres and Municipality. But none of these companies or contractors are following these rules,” Navas added.