Construction firms in Hyd woo back migrant workers (Return of the Exodus-I)

Hyderabad, June 6 (IANS) Facing labour shortage due to return of migrant workers to their home states, construction firms are trying to woo them back by all means.

With resumption of economic activity following launch of Unlock1.0 by the Centre, few leading companies are luring the workers with flight tickets and extra payment to meet their deadlines for completion of the ongoing projects.

One of the contractors of a leading Bengaluru-based construction firm arranged flight tickets to bring back 10 carpenters from Bihar to work on a project in Hyderabad.

While some companies succeeded in convincing the workers to drop the plans of returning home during lockdown, those who lost the manpower are now going all out to woo back them.

Worried over the losses they may incur due to delay in execution of the projects, the companies are ready to spend extra money to bring back the workers.

During the lockdown, major construction companies made all arrangements for the stay of the migrant workers at the construction sites or other locations, provided them food, medical facilities and looked after them well. “They have succeeded in convincing a large number to stay back,” said a member of Confederation of Real Estate Developers Association of India (CREDAI) Telangana unit

In fact the return started about a month ago when nearly 300 workers from Bihar came back to Telangana by a train to work in the rice mills. They arrived in Hyderabad on May 8 when migrant workers stranded across the country were scrambling to return to their home states amid the nationwide lockdown.

Minister for Food and Civil Supplies Gangula Kamlakar and other officials had welcomed the workers on their arrival with flowers.

The minister said huge employment opportunities, higher wages, and measures taken by the government for the welfare of migrants were attracting them to Telangana. This followed a request by Telangana to Bihar to send back migrant workers to the southern state.

More than 90 per cent of the workers employed in Telengana rice mills were Bihari migrants. These workers, who load and unload rice from trucks, had gone to Bihar for Holi and were left stuck there due to the lockdown.

Majority of 8.5 lakh migrant workers in Telangana are employed in the construction sector. It is estimated that over 70 per cent of the workforce in the construction sector in Hyderabad and surroundings are migrant workers, mostly from Bihar, Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Odisha.

Aware of the key role played by the migrant workers in the state's economy, Telangana government did its best to make them stay back. Calling them partners in the development of Telangana, Chief Minister K. Chandrashekhar Rao had announced financial assistance of Rs 500 and 12-kg rice for every migrant.

The authorities had also made arrangements for free food and stay of the migrant workers. However, desperate to return home, many left their destinations on foot.

Officials said over 1.50 lakh migrant workers have been sent to their home states by trains since May 1.

While migrants continue to return to their home states even now, industrial units, especially the construction firms, are vying with each other in offering the doles to bring back the workers.



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