KOCHI: For most Keralites, a hartal may be a ‘public holiday’. It is, however, not so for the Tamil migrant labours settled in Vathuruthy. The nearly 2,000 labourers, who work in and around Kochi, set off on foot early in the morning to reach their work places on time. Most of the labours, who are associated with the construction activities in the district, start their journey by 5 am during the hartal day.
“Most of them are employed at Kakkanad, Kalamassery, Trippunithura, Fort Kochi, Vyttila and other suburban areas. If only we start our journey by around 5 or 5.30 am during the hartal day, will we be able to reach our work place on time. We don’t find it a tasking matter to walk even if distance is 10 km or 20 km,” said Naga Jyothy, a Madurai resident who is lives here with her husband.
For these migrants the only inconvenience that a hartal day brings is that they have to rise up early in the morning so that they can prepare their food and pack up everything to reach their work places in time.
“We don’t find it plausible to take part or sit idle during any type of hartal or strike in the state because it is of utmost importance for us to earn our living. We came here after leaving our children and parents back home in order to earn better so that we are able to meet both ends. If we spend our day doing nothing it will create a huge financial problem for us and our families back home,” said Perumal, a migrant labour hailing from Coimbatore.
Interestingly, these migrant labours welcome hartals as the most of them get a chance to earn some money on that day. “With the number of people thronging to Vathuruthi the employment opportunity has drastically come down. Some times we get a chance to work for 2 to 3 days a week. But during a hartal we all get a chance to earn money as all most all the contractors approach us so that the works that they have undertaken doesn’t get affected,” Perumal added.