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Daily wage earners rue their unchanged plight

By KABITA DUARAH

GUWAHATI, March 21 - In between 6 and 10 in the morning, it is not difficult to notice groups of people often with tools and equipment in their hands crowding certain sidewalks in the city. They are the daily wage labourers, who have made a significant contribution in building the capital city, but, unfortunately, is also the most ignored section of society. As on date, their number has been estimated at above 45,000, with majority of them being migrant labourers.

For these daily wage labourers in the city, the biggest democratic exercise, i.e the Assembly election, has become just a ritualistic affair as their condition has not improved at all despite several legal provisions being in place.

�We have been participating in the elections with the hope of better days. But unfortunately, no steps have been taken to ensure us our fundamental rights,� said Phanidhar Talukdar, president of Brihattar Guwahati Dainik Mojuri Praptta Sramik Sangstha.

Talukdar said that the daily wage labourers have built the city with love and labour but their labour is not recognised. �Political parties before the election make a lot of promises to us. But after the election they forget their promises,� Talukdar lamented and added that the daily wage labourers don�t even have a recognised labour stand despite the fact that their presence has been increasing every year in the city.

The locations where the daily wage labourers congregate every morning are referred to as the labour markets. There are as many as 21 labour markets in Guwahati and the Hatigaon labour market is the largest of them.

The number of such labour markets in the city is on an increasing trend on account of multiple factors like migration from rural to urban areas, expansion of the city, and the dream of the poverty-stricken of making a decent living.

The need for a recognised labour stand has been a longstanding demand of the Brihattar Guwahati Dainik Mojuri Praptta Sramik Sangstha. According to Simanta Sarma, coordinator of the Society for Social Transformation and Environment Protection, the daily wage labourers have been deprived of all the basic amenities.

It needs to be mentioned here that according to a survey conducted by the Society for Social Transformation and Environment Protection, the primary cause of increase in the number of daily wage labourer is migration.

�Rural Assam being an agricultural economy, the employment activities are mainly related to the agriculture sector. Population pressure on the agricultural land has led to disguised and open unemployment. Due to absence of irrigation and other facilities, agricultural sector production activities are limited in the summer season. Thus, unemployment is the main cause for rural urban migration,� said Sarma, observing that the need of the hour was a migrant labour policy for the State, so that the daily wage labourers can live a life of dignity. It has also been observed that the migration rate is higher during winter.

On the other hand, the social and political turmoil in Assam, and the recurrent natural calamities have also triggered migration to the city. �Among the districts of Assam, it has been seen that Dhubri has the highest percentage of daily wage labour in the market comprising 14.33 per cent, followed by Goalpara (13.67 per cent), Barpeta (13 per cent), Kamrup (12.67 per cent), Nalbari (11.67 per cent). This shows that lower Assam has the highest percentage of poor labour,� said Sarma.

General secretary of Brihattar Guwahati Dainik Mojuri Praptta Sramik Sangstha, Chabin Talukdar, expressing his dissatisfaction with the political parties for their hollow promises, said that exploitation is a regular feature in the lives of the daily wage labourers. �Nobody is bothered about us. Everyone wants our labour, but does not want to give us our due,� regretted Chabin Talukdar.

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Daily wage earners rue their unchanged plight

GUWAHATI, March 21 - In between 6 and 10 in the morning, it is not difficult to notice groups of people often with tools and equipment in their hands crowding certain sidewalks in the city. They are the daily wage labourers, who have made a significant contribution in building the capital city, but, unfortunately, is also the most ignored section of society. As on date, their number has been estimated at above 45,000, with majority of them being migrant labourers.

For these daily wage labourers in the city, the biggest democratic exercise, i.e the Assembly election, has become just a ritualistic affair as their condition has not improved at all despite several legal provisions being in place.

�We have been participating in the elections with the hope of better days. But unfortunately, no steps have been taken to ensure us our fundamental rights,� said Phanidhar Talukdar, president of Brihattar Guwahati Dainik Mojuri Praptta Sramik Sangstha.

Talukdar said that the daily wage labourers have built the city with love and labour but their labour is not recognised. �Political parties before the election make a lot of promises to us. But after the election they forget their promises,� Talukdar lamented and added that the daily wage labourers don�t even have a recognised labour stand despite the fact that their presence has been increasing every year in the city.

The locations where the daily wage labourers congregate every morning are referred to as the labour markets. There are as many as 21 labour markets in Guwahati and the Hatigaon labour market is the largest of them.

The number of such labour markets in the city is on an increasing trend on account of multiple factors like migration from rural to urban areas, expansion of the city, and the dream of the poverty-stricken of making a decent living.

The need for a recognised labour stand has been a longstanding demand of the Brihattar Guwahati Dainik Mojuri Praptta Sramik Sangstha. According to Simanta Sarma, coordinator of the Society for Social Transformation and Environment Protection, the daily wage labourers have been deprived of all the basic amenities.

It needs to be mentioned here that according to a survey conducted by the Society for Social Transformation and Environment Protection, the primary cause of increase in the number of daily wage labourer is migration.

�Rural Assam being an agricultural economy, the employment activities are mainly related to the agriculture sector. Population pressure on the agricultural land has led to disguised and open unemployment. Due to absence of irrigation and other facilities, agricultural sector production activities are limited in the summer season. Thus, unemployment is the main cause for rural urban migration,� said Sarma, observing that the need of the hour was a migrant labour policy for the State, so that the daily wage labourers can live a life of dignity. It has also been observed that the migration rate is higher during winter.

On the other hand, the social and political turmoil in Assam, and the recurrent natural calamities have also triggered migration to the city. �Among the districts of Assam, it has been seen that Dhubri has the highest percentage of daily wage labour in the market comprising 14.33 per cent, followed by Goalpara (13.67 per cent), Barpeta (13 per cent), Kamrup (12.67 per cent), Nalbari (11.67 per cent). This shows that lower Assam has the highest percentage of poor labour,� said Sarma.

General secretary of Brihattar Guwahati Dainik Mojuri Praptta Sramik Sangstha, Chabin Talukdar, expressing his dissatisfaction with the political parties for their hollow promises, said that exploitation is a regular feature in the lives of the daily wage labourers. �Nobody is bothered about us. Everyone wants our labour, but does not want to give us our due,� regretted Chabin Talukdar.

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