Guwahati, Sept. 16: Attacks on migrant workers in the Northeast will affect the region’s construction sector, realtors here said.
“It will hit work in places where they are targeted because the local residents either don’t have the skills or the culture to eke out a living from construction or mining,” Deepjyoti Baruah, director of city-based Uttarayan Developers Pvt Ltd, told The Telegraph.
While workers from lower Assam have always been the targets at coalmines in Meghalaya’s Garo hills, the killing of nine migrant workers from Assam in the blast in Imphal on Friday has evoked sharp reactions from various quarters.
But why do the construction firms employ migrants in the first place? Easy availability, mainly from the lower Assam districts, was cited as a prime factor.
“Trends have changed since 2005. We now have easy access to labourers from Dhubri and Barpeta districts as against those from Bihar. If you ask me why we employ migrant labourers, I would say because they are easily available as opposed to the locals, who aren’t. More importantly, migrant workers have better work ethics and are hence more efficient,” said Baruah, a member of Assam Real Estate and Infrastructure Developers Association.
Asked if there was a cost difference (between a migrant and a local), he said, “I cannot say whether a migrant worker comes at a cheaper price.”