CHENNAI: The quest for higher education brought Gyanranjan Mohapatra to Chennai 27 years ago. Now, the city has become his second home, providing him with several opportunities. Chennai is a land of opportunities and is the most peaceful of metros in the country, says Mohapatra, an IT professional who came to Chennai in 1985 to pursue a course in engineering and then eventually settled down in the city.
An assistant manager in Computer Management Service, Mohapatra feels the city offers plenty of opportunities for migrants. “There are plenty of jobs available in the IT and BPO sector,” he says.
The city also has a number of civil servants from Odisha who consider it their second home. Some like R C Panda, who is a member of the Central Adminitrative Tribunal (CAT), feel close to the city as they have spent the best part of their life here.
Starting his career as Assistant Collector of Coimbatore, Panda says he has more friends in Chennai than in Odisha. “My children have been brought up here. My family and I have a nostalgic attachment to the place. After my retirement from the CAT, I will be settling down in Chennai only,” said Panda.
His daughter, a doctor by profession, is married to a man from Tirunelveli. “Now I have a mappilai who is from Tirunelveli,” added Panda.
Utkal Association of Madras president, Khirod Kumar Jenasai, says that people of Odisha have brought their culture, art, personal values and professional expertise with them and Tamil Nadu has welcomed and embraced them wholeheartedly. There have been innumerable inter-state marriages and Tamil Nadu has been a favourite destination for people from Odisha to come for medical treatment, education and work, he says. TN has more than two lakh Odiya migrants - some hold prominent positions in the administration while some work as migrant labourers.
It is not just the opportunities in corporate firms and huge development projects that are attracting Odiya migrants, the relative safety of this metropolis compared to others in recent years is also very attractive.
The city has a sizeable number of Odiya workers who are paid better wages here. Mondal, a migrant worker feels the State has numerous pro-poor schemes. “There are plenty of opportunities here, which attracts many migrant workers to the State,” he says.