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11 million people on move in Orissa

Bhubaneswar, Oct. 5: More than 25 per cent of the state’s population are migrants, reveals a study by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

Out of total 37 million people in the state, about 11 million are on the move, said a compilation circulated by the UNDP during the release of Human Development Report 2009 here today.

Of the 11 million migrants, about 7.9 million migrate within the districts, while 2.4 million migrate to other districts. Inter-state migrants number only 0.66 million, while only 46,000 are international migrants. Major reasons of migration have been identified as search for employment, business, education and marriage (most common reason among females).

Migration of workers from Orissa mainly takes place to Bengal, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat. Increase in migrants from Orissa has been widely attributed to the 1999 super cyclone, 2000 drought and high floods in subsequent years, revealed from the “Orissa Fast Facts” paper on human mobility and development.

Releasing the report, Magsaysay Award winner, Jockin Arputham said himself was a migrant himself from Karnataka and settled in Mumbai.

Arputham, who has formed Slumdwellers International to organise people living in slums, said it’s unfortunate that people were still living on pavements after 62 years of independence and were dying without food and shelter. “Politicians talk of employment, economic development and other things. But they forget small things like toilet. Give the people toilet which will give them dignity,” he demanded.

Describing the migrant labourers as “invisible citizens”, state information commissioner Jagadananda said they were often forced to live in dehumanising condition in absence of basic amenities.

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