Tuesday, October 24, 2017
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FLASH
  • Srinagar: Grenade attack at Tral in south Kashmir.


PADDY BOWL BRIMS OVER

Bihar workers continue to stream in

The Punjab government is yet to assess how much paddy has arrived in Asia’s biggest grain market in Khanna. Yet, there are clear signs that paddy procurement will exceed govt’s targets. The Tribune’s lensman Himanshu Mahajan captures the mood at the grain market22 Oct 2017 | 12:43 AM[ + read story ]

One of the reasons why Bihar labourers continue to flock Punjab, Haryana and elsewhere is because the central rural job guarantee scheme has failed to deliver. They earn anything between Rs 6,000 and Rs 15,000 per month depending on their skills. They are able to save too because they get free meals and temporary lodging. 

Bihar witnessed devastating floods this year. The labourers from flood-hit regions — Seemanchal, Kosi, Mithlanchal, and Champaran — have streamed into Punjab and Haryana. The East Central Railway had to arrange several special trains from Saharsa to Ambala. 

Economist Shaibal Gupta says migration is good for the state’s economy if it is not caused by distress. “In recent times, labourers’ migration has affected local farming. There is no data as to how many labourers migrate from the state in search of livelihood and how their remittances can help the state economy,” says Gupta.

As per 2010 studies of the Indian Institute of Public Administration, New Delhi, 45-50 lakh people of Bihar earn their livelihood in different states of India. Of these, 62% come from rural areas and are mostly daily wagers. Since they don’t carry any identity proof, they can’t get some of the basic facilities such as a cooking gas connection, ration and health cards. “We have many social security schemes, but since there is no available data of the migrants, we cannot hand out government relief,” says an assistant labour commissioner rank officer.

Social activist Ranjiv Kumar says states like Bihar must open help centres in cities with a large number of Bihar labourers. “These centres can help in finding a job or in offering legal help and guidance. If it happens, these earning labourers might contribute towards the state economy,” says Kumar.


Asia’s biggest

  • Grain market at Khanna is Asia’s biggest and covers over 70 acres 
  • Traders say they require at least 30 more acres to take care of 65 lakh gunny bags during the paddy season 
  • The market has more than 250 arhitiyas with each employing about 40 labourers
Bihar workers continue to stream inSmell of Basmati, and some money: Labourers relax on paddy sacks after a hectic routine at the Khanna grain market. The grain market is spread over 70 acres, but traders have demanded more space for storage facility.
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