A delegation of ‘Prabasi Odia Samaj Trust’, an organisation for migrant Odia workers in Gujarat’s Surat, has reached Odisha’s Ganjam district to press on the State government to protect their rights when they return back to textile mills in Surat again.
Since Wednesday, the 18- member delegation of this organisation on a four-day visit to Ganjam is moving around villages that have returned migrant workers. “We have also requested the Odisha government to depute a nodal officer in Surat to coordinate with the Gujarat government for the well-being of Odia migrant workers,” said Pradip Kumar Sahoo, president of the organisation.
According to Mr. Sahoo, till now there is no documentation of Odia migrant workers who serve textile mills in Surat. Most of them are from Ganjam district. So, the organisation wants all Odia migrant workers to be registered under the labour department of Odisha as skilled or unskilled workers before they again get back to Surat in search of employment.
Without documentation, their plight in Surat remains unnoticed by both the Odisha and the Gujarat governments, said Mr. Sahoo. According to him, around seven lakh Odia migrant workers were in Surat before the start of COVID-19 pandemic and 40% of them are still there. Odia migrant workers serving textile mills have no job security and prescribed wages.