In light of migrant labourers in Surat having coming out on the streets to raise issues pertaining to their salaries, ration and even demanding to return home, four teams, each comprising eight labour department officials and factory inspectors, stepped out of their office on Saturday to reassure the workers and gain insights into their problems.
Surat city has a large number of labourers migrating from states such as Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Odisha, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan, who are employed at textile, diamond and embroidery units. In the last few days, labourers had come out in Varachha, Laskana and Ved road industrial areas to press for their various demands. The police had intervened and pacified the agitating workers.
In this regard, the Surat labour department has decided to dispatch teams to visit the labourers in Sachin GIDC, Hojiwala estate, Pandesara, Bamroli, Udhna, Magdalla road, Ved road, Pandole, Varachha and Laskana areas, and in the towns of Kamrej, Kim and Pipodara industrial estate. The labourers will be asked whether they received their salaries for the month of March, are receiving cooked food or have been provided with ration kits by industry associations or factory owners.
Assistant Labour Commissioner Ashish Gandhi said, “In our findings of Saturday, we discovered that the majority of labourers had gotten their March salaries and many textile factories had given them part of their April salaries. Some NGOS have also been distributing ration kits and cooked food. For some labourers in Pandesara who had not been paid in April, we talked to factory owners and made arrangements for it. This is not a single day process; we have to cover many areas and find out about their respective issues. This will continue for a few days.”
“Here in Surat, there are two categories of migrant labourers. One category stays alone in rented rooms with fellow labourers or at the workplace, and they want to go to their hometowns. The second category is of labourers staying here with their families, who do not mind staying put,” he added. “The reason behind them doing all this (agitating) is that they don’t know who to approach to solve their problems. So, we have decided to reach out to them at their doorstep. We are talking to industry association leaders to sort out food and financial issues. Our team members are also handing out their phone numbers, asking the labourers to contact them whenever needed.”
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