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Labourers from UP and Bihar working in the fields at Ponnala near Siddipet distrct headquarters.

Labourers from UP and Bihar working in the fields at Ponnala near Siddipet distrct headquarters.
| Photo Credit: MOHD ARIF

Ram Tiwari, in his early 30s, is from a remote place in Uttar Pradesh and has the responsibility of taking care of his family. Unable to find livelihood locally, Mr. Tiwari, along with several others from his area, has migrated from his native place to Siddipet district travelling about 1,500 km in search of seasonal employment. He is well-versed in in farming activity.

With the commencement of the rainy season, the labour-intensive farming activities have picked up in the district, despite the deficient rainfall. Knowing about the work available here, hundreds of farm labourers have migrated to the district from Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and West Bengal in the past few weeks. They have already commenced work at Ponnala village in Siddipet urban mandal.

The labourers enter into an agreement with the middlemen who bring them here for sowing seedlings in the fields. About 15 labourers form as a group and work in the field. It was stated that the work will also be done fast by the labourers from outside the State compared to the locally hired workers. While it takes two or three days for the local labourers to sow in four to five acres of land, the same is done with one day by the labourers hired from other States.

Same is the case with the cost that will be incurred by the farmers to get the job done. While the local labourers charge anywhere between ₹6,500 and ₹ 7,000 to complete the work in four to five acres, the labourers from outside are charging between ₹5,000 and ₹ 5,500. Considering the cost ratio and time, the farmers are preferring to hire labourers from outside the State. Farmers who used faced lot of difficulties in completing agricultural works due to shortage of labour are now able to hire the workers at lower charges.

“About 200 labourers from U.P., Bihar and West Bengal have arrived here few days back and have spread to Gajwel, Siddipet and Dubbak areas. They were brought here by a tekedar (middleman) who provides them some shelter, offers works and gets commission. They are charging ₹4,000 per acre. They come to work at 5 a.m., collect seedlings, have breakfast at 9 a.m., commence work and continue till 2. p.m. After lunch they take rest for half an hour and then work till late in the evening. A batch of 15 persons is able to complete sowing in six acres in a day. We need not provide even transport to them,” T. Srinivas, sarpanch of Ponnala told The Hindu.

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