Anmol Thakur (30) can always remember that day in July 2014. He was right into a home development work in Kashmir’s Shopian, however issues modified drastically when two bullets pierced his physique in a terrorist strike. “One bullet hit me in the back, another in the stomach, ” Anmol says, displaying the damage marks left behind by the bullets.
A resident of Laharnia in Supaul district of Bihar, Anmol’s medical bills had been totally borne by the contractor. “I didn’t obtain some other profit… I’ve been sitting with out work in my village for the final six months. I wouldn’t have land… To maintain my household, together with my spouse and two kids, I’ve to go to Delhi or Punjab. I’ll go once more after a number of days, ” he says.
“At the time he suffered bullet injuries, the district magistrate and other officials came home and assured us of compensation. But no one visited us after his recovery, ” laments Anmol’s father Anandi Thakur. “No government gave us any benefit. The contractor provided only for medical expenses. You know how difficult it is for a labourer to stay at home for long, ” he sighs.
Besides Anmol, Pintu Kumar (20) and Vinod Thakur (27) of Supaul district and Heera Lal Yadav of Kasimpur in Saharsa district suffered bullet accidents on that day. According to Anmol, all three haven’t acquired any authorities profit. Thankfully, their medical situation is healthier than earlier than.
The Kosi space is the stronghold of migrant labourers. Pramod Yadav (28) of Ghoghadaria panchayat in Supaul district suffered accidents to the waist in a fall at a development web site in August 2022. He was handled at Delhi’s Safdarjung Hospital. He has been confined to his village because of the incapacity since then.
“I was under treatment for almost a year. It cost Rs 3 lakh. The contractor gave only Rs 1 lakh. I had to bear the rest of the expenses. The government did not provide compensation. I do not even know that such compensation is given to labourers, ” Pramod says.
Pramod has three sons and 5 daughters. He will likely be entitled to solely three bighas of land from the household property. “Our village has been demarcated as Kosi Dam area. Not even one season of farming happens here. In such a situation, our family…” his father Bharat Yadav chokes.
Pramod’s nephew Manish is a faculty trainer and social employee. “There is a scheme for migrant labourers, however nobody right here is aware of about it. In each home, three to 4 individuals have migrated for work. No authorities official ever organised camps or created consciousness in regards to the scheme in any village, ” he asserts.
According to the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy Private Limited, whereas the nationwide unemployment fee was 7.60% in March 2022, it had reached 14.40% in Bihar. As a end result, labourers from Bihar go to each nook of the nation looking for work.
“You will find Biharis at all labour squares in the country. They have to travel thousands of km just to get daily wages. In such a situation, the government does not arrange for their safety. Accidents keep happening to them. Whenever the news of such deaths makes headlines, the government immediately provides compensation. If not, the compensation file remains buried, ” Anupam, founder, Yuva Halla Bol, tells 101Reporters.
“Contractors do not even provide them with insurance. The government is neither able to create employment for educated people nor for unskilled labourers, ” he laments.
If a research by the International Institute for Population Sciences in 2020 is to be believed, half of Bihar’s inhabitants has a direct reference to migration. Most of them are labourers, employees and college students. Of them, labourers face issues essentially the most.
As per the Labour Resources Department information included within the Economic Survey 2022-23, 76 migrant labourers died in 2021-22 and 110 in 2020-21. Curiously, dying of not a single migrant labourer from Saharsa district was recorded in 2021-22. Notably, on March 19, 2021, 11 labourers from Jajouri village of Mahishi block died in an accident once they had been being taken to Punjab in a contractor’s pickup van.
No information for 2022-23 is accessible but, however scrolling via the newspaper headlines from final September to December is sufficient to study 32 deaths. In September, seven labourers from Bihar died in a raise breakdown in Thane, Maharashtra. Also, 4 members of a migrant household died in a hearth in Una district of Himachal Pradesh. The subsequent month, 4 labourers suffocated to dying whereas cleansing the septic tank of a manufacturing facility at Kamleshwar in Surat, Gujarat.
In December, seven died after getting buried beneath a 100-tonne maize sack at Aliabad industrial space in Karnataka. Around the identical time, six employees died in a hearth at a gloves manufacturing facility in Maharashtra. Another 4 succumbed to chilly climate at Hazaribagh, Jharkhand, the identical month.
“Bihar government does not have any data of migrant labourers from the state. There are many labourers who die or become disabled at work or due to other reasons, but they are unaware of the government scheme meant for them. So even the government does not have data on migrant deaths, ” Vidyakar Jha, an RTI activist and social employee, tells 101Reporters.
According to Labour Resources Department, migrant labourers working outdoor are liable to practice or highway accidents, electrical shock, snake chunk, drowning, hearth, falling from a tree or constructing, assault by wild animals and terrorist, and legal assaults, all of that are coated beneath the Bihar State Migrant Labour Accident Grant Scheme. The scheme supplies Rs 2 lakh within the occasion of a migrant labourer’s dying. For whole and non permanent disabilities, the compensation is Rs 1 lakh and Rs 50, 000, respectively. To be eligible, a labourer ought to be aged between 18 and 65.
To avail of the scheme, the sufferer/sufferer’s household should submit the Aadhaar or id card of the injured/deceased, First Information Report photocopy, postmortem report, dependent’s Aadhaar/id card, photocopy of the dependent’s financial institution passbook, residence certificates, dependent certificates and the certificates issued by the pradhan (village head) on the Right to Public Service counter on the respective block headquarters.
“This scheme is also promoted on social media. Before August 2023, only Rs 1 lakh was given to the dependents. Now it has been raised to Rs 2 lakh, ” Amit Pandey, media in-charge, Labour Resources Department, tells 101Reporters.
Explaining the historical past of migration, blogger Ranjan Rituraj remembers that a number of industries — Bela Industries in Muzaffarpur and Modern Chocolate Company in Patna to call a number of — existed in Bihar earlier than the 90s. “Dalmia Nagar in Rohtas district was known for the production of sugar, paper, vegetable oil, cement, chemicals and asbestos. Before 1947, there were 33 sugar mills in Bihar, but only about 10 are functional today. After 1990, Bihar was torn between feudalism and socialism, ” he says.
“In 1960, the difference in per capita income of Bihar and Maharashtra was double. Now it has increased to almost eight times. People who migrated from Bihar after the 90s are not returning. The only solution to eradicate poverty is to launch micro, small and medium industries. Otherwise, migration in Bihar will only increase, ” he says.
What authorities ought to do?
Jitan Mandal of Veena panchayat in Kosi belt is a labour contractor. “The government says it publicises the scheme through newspapers, mobile phone, TV and hoardings. How many labour colonies have such hoardings? Perhaps, not even one, ” Mandal lashes out. Though labourers use cellphones for leisure, they’re but to know and make use of the total potential.
“The government should first get accurate data of migrant labourers. Subsequently, labourers themselves can be made to spread the word about the scheme through mike announcements or street plays, ” he proposes.
Patna resident and migrant labourer Chandan Sinha echoes Mandal when he says the state authorities ought to put together information of migrant labourers. After that, the native official involved ought to conduct a marketing campaign every now and then on the panchayat or block stage to advertise the scheme. The marketing campaign ought to be completed extra continuously in these areas that witness extra migration, he explains.
“Right now, even the government does not want labourers to know about the scheme, because it will strain the exchequer a lot. If the attitude itself is wrong, how can the intention be good? And when the intention is not good, how can the policy be better?” he wonders.