WITH DEMAND for migrant labour choosing up in Kerala after easing of pandemic-related restrictions, a whole lot of staff from the east and northeastern states have began returning to the state. Since common practice companies are but to renew on these routes, these staff are making bus journeys lasting as much as 5 days to reach their vacation spot of livelihood.
Muhammed Ansar, 50, from Murshidabad in West Bengal, informed The Indian Express he took a bus to Kerala earlier this month. “Only just a few trains are being operated and we will’t wait,’’ stated Ansar, who works in a tea store.
Like him, Mamun Mandal, 22, a mason from Murshidabad, can be again in Kerala. “There is no job in my village. My contractor in Kerala had been asking me to return. If I did not come and start work, he would have taken somebody else… Hence, I was forced to take the bus, despite the journey being long and strenuous,” stated Mandal.
According to bus operators, not less than a dozen buses function on daily basis from Kochi and suburban areas to east and northeastern states to ferry migrants. There are brokers on each side to get the migrants for the journeys. Buses are being operated from Kerala as much as Nagaon in Assam and Howrah and Siliguri in West Bengal.
A day’s informal work fetches between Rs 900 and Rs 1,000 in Kerala – which drives migrants to the state.
Arshad N of Najath Tour and Travels, who operates each day companies from Kerala to the northeast, stated, “It takes a continuous journey of four to five days between Kerala and Assam. We charge between Rs 4,000 and Rs 5,500 per person to Kerala. The trend would remain until normal train services begin.”