Migrant labour overtaking upon locals’ lethargy, making hay

Vikram Sharma. Updated: 11/30/2023 1:46:33 AM Front Page

JAMMU: The southern district of Jammu and Kashmir starting from R.S Pura to Hiranagar is considered as the rice bowl of the UT and thousands of hectares of land is under the Paddy cultivation.
With Paddy harvesting season in its halfway in Jammu region, migrant workers from Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Orissa are making a beeline in villages, where they are being hired by the farmers, in wake of labour shortage.
The trend of migrant workers was in past few years only limited in neighboring Punjab, but it is fast picking up in the state especially in southern parts of Jammu and Orchid producing areas of Kashmir valley.
Apart from earning a good amount of money, these workers are at times provided food and shelter by the farmers, which is a major attraction for them as they are able to save money to run their household during lean seasons.
Sources say that there is a well knit contractor system, which brings these men and women into UT and they are being deputed to the villages as per the need.
Nearly 60,000 hectares of land is under rice cultivation in the region. Some of them talking to this newspaper said that during the season, they earn somewhere between Rs 10000 to Rs 20000, which is quite a huge sum, while comparing to the earnings in their home states.
“Most of them work as seasonal labourers. When they finish working during the harvesting season, these workers again come during the sowing”, said a local farmer, Gopal Krishan.
Baiju Ram from Patna said, “Back home we don’t get good labour and here we are able to earn some extra bucks to run our home for a few months. Its good option for us during summer season.
While there is general opinion about the local artisans, be it masons, carpenters, electricians etc having lost upon their skilled expertise in the UT , farmers who used to be considered as the most laborious class doing its own work now too have fallen in the same category.
An officer at the Agriculture department said that the trend has been now a decade old here, but has been borrowed from neighbouring states like Punjab and Haryana.
“These bigger states with vast agricultural land always needed labour work and for that people from Bihar , Orissa etc used to go to Punjab and Haryana. In Jammu and Kashmir , it mainly used to be a familial affair for being only little land areas held by the farmers here.,” said the officer , but admitted a sizable local labour always remained in demand that now has been replaced by the migrant ones.
Migrant labour has overtaken locals' lethargy and is making hay while our people have reduced themselves into hopeless lot. They feel ashamed of ploughing their field, “said a local farmer at R S Pura .

Updated On 11/30/2023 1:51:14 AM

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