Exodus Of Migrant Labourers May Affect 15% To 20% Production In Pre-Diwali Period

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New Delhi: Exodus of migrants from Gujarat to their respective places is proving to be a big loss in terms of festive season approaching. Industry associations in Gujarat say that exodus of migrant labourers, mainly from north Gujarat’s industrial belt, may affect 15% to 20% of the production in the crucial pre-Diwali period.

Armed state reserve police force are, meanwhile, patrolling manufacturing hubs such as Sanand Industrial Estate, Gujarat’s automobile and pharma hub, the worst affected by attacks on migrant workers and their subsequent exodus triggered by the rape of a 14-month-old in Sabarkantha last week.

Of the 10 million migrant labourers in Gujarat, 60-70% are from Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Bihar and West Bengal, making them the backbone of Gujarat industries.

Small-scale industries in pockets of Ahmedabad and parts of Mehsana and Sabarkantha districts have been affected because part of the workforce, fearful of hate crimes, remained absent during the hectic work schedule just before the festive period, industry associations in the region said.

“There are some 20,000 workers engaged in auto ancillaries and pharma companies in Sanand (Ahmedabad district) out of which, around 10,000 are migrants. Around 15-20% of the total production has been affected as around 3,000 workers have reportedly gone back to their original villages or are staying back in their local homes,’’ said Ajit Shah, president of Sanand Industrial Estate.

Sanand Industrial Estate, which came into existence after Tata Motors Ltd moved its Nano car factory from West Bengal to Gujarat in 2008, has not seen a single attack on any migrant worker. These factories provide parts to auto companies like Tata Motors, Ford India and Hero MotoCorp.

“It is social media rumour that is keeping labourers on tenterhooks. We are going to appeal to the police chief to ban the Internet in the area for a few days,” said Shah, adding that on Monday, the sarpanchs of the Bor, Hirapar, Choral, Puvar and Rasoolpara villages, homes to migrant workers employed in Sanand Industrial Estate, were summoned by industrialists to caution them against rumors.

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