With onset of paddy season, farmers try to woo ‘missing’ labourers with added attractions

Written by Raakhi Jagga | Ludhiana | Published:June 12, 2014 10:39 am
Labourers at a paddy plantation in Kutbewal village of Ludhiana. ( Express photo by Gurmeet Singh ) Labourers at a paddy plantation in Kutbewal village of Ludhiana. ( Express photo by Gurmeet Singh )

Even as the paddy season began on June 10, farmers are still busy wooing labourers to work in their farms, while many landlords have increased bounties to attract previous year’s workers. They are offering unlimited rations, milk, non-vegeterian food once a week, mobile recharge, Bhojpuri music while farmers work in the fields and much more.

Migrant labourers usually work in Punjab fields but with MNREGA providing employment at their doorstep, labourers prefer to stay in their hometown. For the last two-three years, Punjab farmers have been adding new incentives, besides payment, to woo labourers from outside the state.

Darshan Singh Koohli, general secretary of Bharti Kisan Union (BKU) Ludhiana unit, said: “Earlier we were giving ration on per-head basis, but now we have told them to take unlimited rice, pulses, vegetables etc, which they cook in the tubewell room and eat after work. Milk is also being provided.Unlimited tea is another attraction, it was given three times a day earlier.”

Information revealed that with unlimited ration on offer, many migrants who come with families are also likely to transfer some ration to their family members. Keeping up with the changing times, one offer includes providing recharge coupons for mobiles so that migrants who come from UP and Bihar can talk with their family members.

A few landlords have also arranged for Bhojpuri songs to be played near tubewells so that labourers can listen to them while working. And on their day off, workers are provided country liquor, while once in a while non-vegetarian food is also being offered by big landlords of Ludhiana and surrounding areas. Offers have to be given so that previous year’s labourers come back to the landlord, added Gurvinder Singh, a farmer from Moga.

As of now, farmers are paying Rs 1,600-1,700 per acre to labourers and it can increase in the coming days, as labour crisis is also increasing. As of now, the farmers are waiting for more workers.

Two fined under food safety act

Mansa: The court of Additional Deputy Commissioner (general)-cum-adjucating officer of Food and Safety Act, 2006, on Wednesday imposed fine of Rs 2 lakh on a showroom for selling cheese with no date of expiry mentioned on the packing and a dairy owner for selling milk added with water. The general manager of Easy Day showroom in Mansa was fined for selling cheese on which no expiry date was mentioned; while Fauji Dairy was raided by the Food and Supply Department in which it was found that the dairy owner was selling milk by adding water in it and hence it was of less fat as compared to what was declared by the dairy owner. Vinod Kumar, owner of the dairy was fined Rs 25,000 by the court of GS Khera. ENS

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