Migrant labourers on pavements pose a nuisance to public

The scheme to build night shelters announced in the budget is still on paper and workers from other states often seek shelter on pavements.

Published: 15th May 2013 09:21 AM  |   Last Updated: 15th May 2013 09:45 AM   |  A+A-


Throwing caution and security to the wind a group of migrant labourers, including women and children, have been camping for the night on the pavements in Kaloor.

More than 50 labourers have made the pavements in Kaloor their resting place. They were found sleeping in the open from 8.30 pm onwards, creating hardships for pedestrians. They certainly pose a threat to the public.  At the same time, the security of women  migrant labourers sleeping on the pavements are at stake. To top it all, the city is strewn with migrant labourers, the majority of whom are drunk, creating a nuisance to the public, especially women, during the night.

The migrant labourers were lying on the pavement wrapped in thin sheets despite the sporadic showers. Whatever the situation, the authorities seem to be unaware of the situation. Unfortunately, though a scheme to build night shelters was announced in the state budget, it is still on paper.

The labour department officials cited it as a recurring phenomenon in the city that they found difficult to handle.

“It would have been easier had they been registered under an employer. Unfortunately, it is not so. These people do not come for fixed jobs under any particular employer.

They come in groups and camp in some convenient spot in the city where they are picked up in the early hours according to the requirements.

Hence we are helpless in tracking down such people and their identity,” said Vincent Alex, Regional Joint Labour Commissioner, Labour department, Ernakulam.

However, he said the department would soon look into the situation.

“This is definitely a social issue which can lead to severe repercussions. To tackle the issue, we need the cooperation of the District Administration, Police and Kochi Corporation” he said.

But the Kochi Corporation has shunned responsibility, hardly recognising it to be a social issue.

Mayor Tony Chammany said that the issue does not come under the purview of the Corporation. “It is the responsibility of the Social Justice Department to sort out the issue,” he said.

But the Social Justice Department has another version to offer. H Ramamoorthy, Social Welfare Officer, Ernakulam, said that they cannot not make an intervention unless they are given assistance by the Police or the District Collector.

“The Social Justice Department has limited options to offer shelter -  the Juvenile Home and Mahila Mandiram. But to admit children of migrant labourers in the juvenile home, they have to be brought before the Juvenile Justice Board and it is also not easy to admit women in the Mahila Mandiram. Any immediate decisions can be taken only by the District Collector.

When contacted District Collector P I Sheik Pareeth and Commissioner of Police K G James said that they would look into the issue at the earliest.


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