Bhubaneswar: Scores of skilled and semi skilled workers from Ganjam district are contemplating to migrate to other states in search of better livelihood options after the Covid-19 situation improves.
Since May 3 this year, the district has been witnessing return of more than 2 lakh migrant workers. A large number of them are skilled workers who were working in the textile industries of Gujarat and Maharashtra.
“In Surat, we get between Rs 600-Rs 700 per day in textile industry while in Odisha earning Rs 250-300 per day is really tough. From my village around 500 people go to Surat every year to work in textile sector and other areas,” said Debraj Jena, a skilled textile industry worker from Beljhari village in Beguniapada panchayat of Ganjam district.
Nilesh Raula, another migrant worker from Raulapalli village in Purushuttampur panchayat, said that he has planned to return back to Maharashtra.
“I had been staying in Maharashtra since 2010. My family stays here and I work with a machine which is used for dying clothes. I go there for better wages and other avenues. I will go to the western state again as soon as the Covid-19 situation improves,” he said.
Balram Swain, a migrant from Sikri village in Hinjlicut panchayat, said that he had been working in Maharashtra since 2011 and will visit the place again. “In Odisha, we do not get suitable jobs that can fetch us good money. So, I work in a garment industry and handle a machine used in its manufacturing,” he said.
Most of the migrants, who recently returned from Surat and Maharashtra this correspondent talked to, expressed their satisfaction with the overall situation and facilities in quarantine centres. However, several of them said that they were yet to get the Rs 2,000 incentive announced by the state government while some were paid partially.
The district administration, however, claimed that it has streamlined the incentive disbursement process and all eligible persons will be paid their dues.
“We have planned cash disbursement so that the quarantine discharged people do not queue up before banks. Sarpanchs and Anganwadi workers are delivering the dues at their doorsteps. Nearly 60 per cent of them have received it,” Ganjam Collector Vijay Amrut Kulange told Orissa POST.
All those who had registered with the government and successfully completed their quarantine in institutional centres in rural areas will be paid their dues, but not others.
Berhampur-based migration and livelihood expert Loknath Mishra said, “Most of those who have returned to the state are bachelors. Meanwhile, a number of middlemen have also returned to the state to take back the migrants in the last two months. As a number of them are skilled workers with less farming experience, many are likely to migrate back as soon as Covid-19 situation betters.”