Kerala is fast becoming a paradise for workers of other states since some years. Workers from other Indian states, especially from West Bangal, UP, Bihar, Tamil Nadu and Assam seek job opportunities here because of favourable climate, better payments and cosmopolitan outlook of Keralities.
In other states an ordinary workers generally gets Rs 130 per day, here they get Rs. 350 to 450. As they live and dine in group, having no luxuaries their earning become easy. On an average an ordinary worker sends Rs. 70,000/- per year to his family.
According to a latest report published by the State government the percentage of those who are outsiders are : West Bengal-20; Bihar-18; Assam-17.28; Uttar Pradesh-14.83; Odisha-6.67; others- 23.13. Labourers from Tamil Nadu are included in others.
Why this unprecedented influx to Kerala now? The main reason is the reluctance of new generation educated and uneducated youths to do manual labour in their own places. But they are ready to do and hard work in other states/countries, without any lazyness.
Gulati Institute of Finance and Taxation conducted a study on outside Kerala labourers and in its report submitted to the State government said that there are 25lakh outsiders who work in Kerala. At the same time there is severe unemployment problem among the Keralities, and it is steadily increasing day by day.
But this trend may not last forever as many of the Gulf countries hardening their swadeshi rules according to which only indigenous workers will be eligible to stay there in some category of labour while others will have to leave. There is a strict vigilance on viza rules in countries like Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. So those Keralities who return from there will have to face the job problem in Kerala.
Immediately after independence Mumbai witnessed the same situation. Job seekers thronged to Mumbai from different parts of India as there were enough job opportunities because of the financial progress and industrial growth which changed the face of the city. At the same time some sections indulged in communal activities which resulted in anti-national feeling and giving rise to Hindu-Muslim divide. Due this unhealthly and unwanted situations people of Mumbai were forced to think in terms of ‘ sons of soil’ and this gave birth to pride of “Mumbai for Maharash-trians” which ultimately led to the formation of a socio-political organisation such as Shiv Sena. The patriotic and militant character of Shiv Sena was not against any particular group, but they tried to protect the interest of locals at the same time strongly opposed the anti-nationals.
Even though Kerala is not going to change like Mumbai in the immediate future, things might not be the same always. A major section of labour is Muslims, coming from Bengal and Assam. 99 per cent of them have no passport or visa and they are illegal migrants from Bangladesh. Some days back in Ernakulam local people caught hold of some of these migrants who are from Bangladesh and handed them over to police.
Although it is correct that we cannot deny the right of Indian workers to work in any part of the country without any discrimination but it should be according to the set rules and legal procedures. Other wise, Mumbai situation may follow, and it will not be good for this generally calm atmosphere.