The district administration in Malda, from where around five lakh people serve as migrant workers in other states, has taken up the task to register the details of these workers on a portal recently launched by the Bengal labour department.
“We will hold a meeting soon to expedite the process of registration of migrant workers who are from Malda district on the portal. The contractors, who send migrant workers in groups to other states, will also be asked to furnish details of the workers under them. The portal has been created as an effective mechanism to help any worker in distress. It will also help if a worker needs to be tracked,” said Nitin Singhania, the district magistrate.
Last week, chief minister Mamata Banerjee underscored the need to get all migrant workers from Bengal registered into the portal. While speaking at an administrative review meeting here, she instructed the officials to develop a data bank of such workers of the state.
“The state has helped migrant workers in case they have faced problems in any other state. Also, we have stood by the families of such workers who have lost their lives in other states in unfortunate incidents. If we have a database ready, we can track the worker easily and reach out to him. The administration should see to it that the workers register themselves through the portal or through an app which has been created,” she had said.
In Bengal, a large number of people from Malda, Murshidabad, North and South Dinajpur districts work in Kerala, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Jammu, Kashmir, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, as well as the northeastern states.
While most of them work in construction sites, there are some who earn a living by working in orchards, carpet factories and companies which install towers for cell phone networks.
Sources in the administration said that from Malda, around five lakh people in other states and are seven to eight lakh migrant workers from the neighbouring Murshidabad district.
Another 2.5 lakh people from the two Dinajpurs work in other states, sources said.
“The state has always been sympathetic to these migrant workers and has even constituted a welfare board for them. We will always encourage migrant workers to get themselves registered with the portal. If required, we are ready to conduct camps to help them with the process,” said Subhadeep Sanyal, the Malda district president of INTTUC, the Trinamul labour wing.
Political observers pointed out that in minority-dominated districts like Malda, Murshidabad and North Dinajpur, this new initiative by the state can help Trinamul tide over its political contenders.
They said that migrant workers and their families form a considerable portion of the vote bank. Right now, Trinamul is trying to drive home the point that funds for MGNREGS frozen by the Centre have led to a rise in migrants from Bengal.
“The state government has come up with initiatives like paying compensation of Rs 2 lakh each to bereaved families of migrant workers who lost their lives. Efforts were also put in by the state to bring their mortal remains to the native villages. Now, the state government has formed a welfare board and launched a portal to prove its sincere intentions towards the migrant workers. It would surely help Trinamul in these districts,” said an observer.