Alcoholism rising among migrant workers

Alcoholism and absenteeism are rising among migrant workers in the district, and textile units where they are employed in large numbers,  complain of production loss.

Published: 23rd March 2022 10:03 AM  |   Last Updated: 23rd March 2022 10:03 AM   |  A+A-

Man holding a glass and a bottle of alcohol

Representational Image (Photo | Express Illustrations)

Express News Service

TIRUPPUR: Alcoholism and absenteeism are rising among migrant workers in the district, and textile units where they are employed in large numbers,  complain of production loss.

President of Tiruppur Exporters and Manufacturer Association (TEAMA) M P Muthurathinam said,"Workers from northern and eastern States are known for hard work and work discipline. They generally do not have bad habits as compared to workers from other districts in Tamil Nadu. But, over the last few months, we noticed that more migrants are addicted to liquor."

"A migrant worker in the garment industry earns Rs 500-600 per day. Those working as tailors on a piece-rate basis earn around Rs 4,000 per week. Since most of them are single , they fall victim to drinking habits.  Apart from this, some contractors who get work orders from big companies offer liquor as inducement to retain them. This turned many workers as addicts and they don't turn up for work on time or leave early in the evening," he reasoned.

Elaborating, president of Powerloom Unit owners Association (Palladam) R Velusamy said, 'Workers from the north are preferred as they don't bargain for wages. Further, we offer them accommodation, cooking gas and other facilities, which means they do not have to spend on rent and fuel. A large number of migrant workers are employed in power loom units in Palladam, Mangalam, Thekkalur, ect . While some work for piece rate basis, most of them are paid a consolidated pay of Rs 600 per day. In the beginning, the migrants were teetotalers, but after mingling with locals, they have become addicts. Sunday usually turns a party day, and they are off for the next two days.'

Reshma (29), a native of Gorakhpur in Uttar Pradesh, said,' My husband Ashok (30) worked as helper in a garment unit in the city for the past several years. He was getting a weekly salary of `2,500. Initially, he didn't have any drinking habits, but got used to the habits with his friend. This created big problems in our life. There were daily fights and life was getting miserable. Our elder son is differently abled and our life started to crumble. He eventually moved to Chennai and I am live here. He returned recently and with help of NGOs, attended awareness programmes. With support from elders in the locality, he got rid of alcoholism. But, many migrants from North and Eastern India have drinking habits'.

According to sources, there are more than 252 TASMAC liquor outlets in the district. Adding to the trouble, there are many illegal bars on the outskirts of the city. Most of the TASMAC shops are located close to industrial areas. There are five liquor shops near Nethaji Apparel Park in Perumanallur, two near textile units in Thekkalur near Avinashi. Above all, there are more than 20 TASMAC shops in the Tiruppur city near garment units.

M Thangavel , director of Vizhthugal, a NGO working closely with migrant workers, said,'Most migrants in Tiruppur district are in the age group of 18-40. While some come with their family, rest of them are youngsters between 18-25. With no parental supervision and availability of money, they tend to move towards liquor. We have so far rehabilitated over 150 migrants from addiction since lockdown was partially lifted in August 2020. But the number of migrants suffering from alcoholism is increasing."


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