Leaders need migrant staff again dwelling

HUBBALLI: It is an annual trend: Once examinations are finished, many people from the labourer class from North Karnataka migrate to , Bengaluru and Goa to work as construction workers and in other sectors.
This year, though, the migration has become a headache for political parties and candidates, as they gear up to seek votes in the coming assembly election. Politicians are desperate to ferry them back to their constituencies for the May 12 election.

The labourers say that despite the government‘s efforts to create jobs under MNREGA and other schemes, they need to migrate and this is now the practice in the region.

Siddappa Chalavadi, who left for Mangaluru on Thursday, said that as his children‘s exams are over, he will leave along with his family members. “Construction activities are in full swing in summer, and we get up to Rs 500 a day. Together, we earn up to Rs 2,000. We usually earn a hefty amount in these two months which helps us live in our village the entire year,” he said.

Manappa Nayak, from Kushtagi, said his family works in Mangaluru the whole year. “Our children‘s names are enrolled in the government school here and they will study, no matter where we stay. We come to the village only during exams and return,” he added.

Both said that under MNREGA, they get work only for about 100-150 days and payment is made after a few months.

A conductor in Hubballi Mofussil depot-3 observed that traffic on the Mangaluru and Goa routes goes up substantially from the last week of March. Parashuram , a youth from Rajur village, said he was requested to stay in the village till the election. ” and workers tried to retain me. When I explained our family‘s financial condition, they allowed me to go but requested me to return on May 12 for voting. They even assured me that they would pay the travelling expense,” he said.

Raghavendra Kulkarni, a journalist in Gajendragad, observed that some politicians and their workers collected the mobile numbers of such migrant labourers and contractors.

“There is a provision in NWKRTC. If there are over 50 passengers from a village/locality to another village/town for a longer distance, NWKRTC provides free pick-up and drop facility from source to destination. Utilizing it, politicians have planned to bring labourers from Mangaluru and Goa for the May 12 poll. This initiative cannot be detected by the Election Commission or any other agency, as labourers get their tickets individually but are paid by politicians through their agents,” he said.

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