More than 20 lakh migrant workers were shifted from Gujarat to different states after Railways initiated special ‘Shramik Trains’ in the wake of nationwide lockdown during May.
Gujarat-based industries have demanded running of special trains to bring back migrant labourers from states like Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Odisha as industrial units find it difficult to normalise production process in absence of trained workforce.
More than 20 lakh migrant workers were shifted from Gujarat to different states after Railways initiated special ‘Shramik Trains’ in the wake of nationwide lockdown during May. With businesses opening up gradually and some demands have also generated following the ‘un-lockdown’, industries in Gujarat are not able to increase production without trained migrant labourers.
Federation of Industries & Association (FIA) — Gujarat has requested the state government to make appropriate arrangement to bring back migrant workers as early as possible. “Industries in Ahmedabad, Surat, Vapi and Ankleshwar areas are witnessing shortage of labourers. Currently most industrial units are functioning with hardly 30-40% workforce. But in case of meeting new demands, they would require labourers and for the purpose authorities should take immediate action,” said Ajit Shah, secretary of FIA — Gujarat.
Surat-based textile and diamond industries are also facing the same situation. According to Jitendra Vakharia, president of South Gujarat Textile Processors Association, it would not be possible to scale up production without migrant labourers. Vakharia’s association has sent a letter to Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar to make necessary arrangement to send labourers. “In order to bring back labourers, once again Shramik Trains should be run by the government,” he added.
Many in Surat and Ahmedabad textile industry firmly believe that if migrant labourers don’t return for work, plethora of units would be forced to shut down again. Migrant labourers were quarantined for 14 days when they went to their respective states. Now again they will have to pass through the same procedure before they could recommence work. It means, industries in Gujarat will have to wait for at least a month to increase production.
Sources in Morbi-based ceramic cluster said that many labourers have returned on their own and resumed work. But still they are not having adequate workforce to augment production.