Alok Pandey (Ground Report | New Delhi): Labourers are forced; Shahid Chowk of the Daltonganj Town, in northern Palamau of Jharkhand where people gather in hundreds, is now popularly being called labour chowk. Men, and women, young and old gather at the Shahid Chowk as early as five in the morning and will wait till late in the afternoon hoping to get a job.
Labourers are forced to work at low wages
But for the lakhs of migrant workers who returned home during the pandemic – Jobs are scarce. ” Some days we get a job, some days we don’t, but we come here every day, what can we do,” said Santosh Vishwakarma, 29 who is a resident of Budhidih village in Palamu district of Jharkhand.
Santosh worked as a supervisor in a cement factory in Orissa before the lockdown. He returned home during the pandemic but he has not been able to find a stable source for his livelihood in all these months
Every day he comes to the chowk at seven in the morning but in the last three days, he has not been called for any job. And even if he gets a job the wage is very less as compared to what he used to earn previously.
Difficult to feed family
“It is very difficult to feed seven members with what I earn,” he added as he stood waiting with tools and paintbrushes in a bag. As the number of migrants waiting for a job has increased, their wages have come down. “Everyone wants to live in Palamu now, nobody wants to go out,” he said.
ALSO READ: Unemployment delay marriages in Kashmir
“I am ready to work at any wages but will never return to Orissa again,” he continued. Over the last few months, more than 3 Lakhs migrant workers like him have returned to Jharkhand after the lockdown. (Labourers are forced)
Like Santosh, another migrant worker Vikash Yadav, 26, who returned from West Bengal, is also unable to find a job in the Shahid Chowk. Previously he used to work as a labour at construction sites, but he is unable to find any construction-related job for the last six days.