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Realtors, hotels bear the brunt of workers’ exodus
Concerned about the mass exodus of guest workers from the State, officials from Labour Department have urged real estate companies and restaurant owners to counsel them to stay back.
Sources from these sectors said they have already apprised the State government that construction activities and reopening of restaurants would be affected for the next three months due to this reverse migration triggered by the lockdown.
“Every day, about 10,000 workers are moving out of the State. If this continues, it will drain the human resource available in the State,” an official source told DT Next. “Realtors and hoteliers are now searching for workers to reopen their business. But more than 50,000 guest workers have already left and another one lakh is about to leave,” said the official, adding that counselling has failed to stop the exodus of migrant workers.
Prakash Challa, national advisory council member of Credai said Labour Secretary Md Nasimuddin had urged Credai members to counsel the guest workers. Though some of them have agreed to stay back, a majority of workers want to leave, he said.
For the past two months, Credai members took care of the workers at construction sites. However, he added, the Centre’s hasty decisions on lockdown and extension without discussing the issue with trade bodies like CII, Assocham and FICCI, has had an adverse impact. This trend would continue for two to three months more, Challa said.
Urging the Centre and State to discuss these issues with stakeholders, Challa said workers could be offered free transport so that they would return after few weeks. Using MNREGS funds would only reduce their earning potential and affect their financial condition, he added.
“There is nothing wrong in imposing lockdown, but there should be a clear policy. The Centre has failed on the issue, and now the exodus has escalated into a crisis affecting the economy and increasing the COVID cases,” said Jaya Kumar, who owns a chain of fast food outlets in Central Chennai. One of his employees tested positive and the panic it triggered choked his business, he said. “Subsequently, ten of my staff returned to their native. I am not sure when I can reopen my outlets,” Kumar said.