The agitation staged by the Kerala Bar Hotels Association (KBHA) on Tuesday was conspicuous by the large number of north Indian faces among the demonstrators. Migrant labourers from north and north-east India form a major chunk of the employees in bar hotels across the state today. On Tuesday, many of them were seen holding placards in Malayalam demanding that the Kerala government should renew the licences of the 418 bars that are lying shut.
A group of migrant labourers employed at various bar hotels in Kozhikode said that if the bar hotels did not open, their livelihood would be hit, forcing them to find other ways of living. Majority of these labourers are from states like Assam, Jharkhand, West Bengal and Bihar.
Food and the relatively better wages prompt migrant workers to seek employment in bar hotels in the state.
For some of them, accommodation also is provided, which is another attraction. A group from Thrissur said that bar jobs allow them to save, which means sending more money to their families back home.
Migrant workers working at a bar hotel in Kazhakkoottam said that they were not aware of the nitty-gritty of the bar issue or the tug of war inside the UDF. But they are aware of one thing; if the bars are closed, their source of income will dry up.