Kendrapara, June 1 (LocalWire): Migrant workers who returned to their native places after the coronavirus lockdown took away their jobs are now working as agricultural labourers/farmworkers.
Amar Behera, 32, was working as a binder in a construction company in Mumbai.
After returning home before the lockdown two months ago, he became a farmworker.
Jagannath Das, 27, who was working as a salesman in a New Delhi shop has also taken up farming ever since he returned to his village Bharatapur.
“Around 60 youths from our village were working in big cities.
However, the lockdown took away their jobs.
Earlier, we had to hire farm workers from faraway places during the farming season, but now, we can easily hire youth from our own village for which we are very happy,” said Chittaranjan Das, the former Sarpanch of Bharatapur Gram Panchayat.
“Rain has softened the land, for which we have engaged workers who returned from other states in our farms,” said Bhakta Nayak, a farmer of Bagada.
“We received the rain at the right time to carry out the sowing work with the help of returnee migrants,” said Saroj Kumar Das of Gandakhia village.
“We have no time to waste. We are now clearing our fields to sow the seeds”, said Ramesh Rout, a farmer of Garadapur who engaged three returnee migrant workers as farm labourers for his three acres of field.
“I used to work as a waiter in a hotel in Hyderabad.
I will not return to Hyderabad as the hotel owner betrayed me by not providing salaries after the government announced lockdown.
I am now happy as a farmworker in my village.
I would try to build a life in my village, despite the economic difficulties,” said Alok Sahoo of Bharatapur.
However, all returnees are not interested in farm work.
“I used to work as a plumber in New Delhi. I cannot work as a farmworker.
I will return to my workplace after the end of the lockdown,” said Jagannath Rout of Pattamundai.
“Around one lakh people from the district work in other states.
25,418 persons from other states have returned from their workplaces till date to the district.
They have been placed under quarantine in different centres.
We are determined to provide them jobs under MGNREGA and other schemes of the government,” said Samarth Verma, the collector of Kendrapara.