Ludhiana, Dec 14(ANI): Rapid urbanisation and industrialization in the 21st century has propelled a massive rural urban migration and labour mobility, and Punjab, which is among the fastest growing economies, has become an epicentre for the migrants looking for better job prospects.
The labourers come from different parts of the country, including Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and Himachal Pradesh being the prominent ones. And, in Punjab, they find jobs in industries, construction and farms to have a better livelihood than in their native states.
Amar Singh, a farmer in Hamra village near Ludhiana whose sons have settled abroad, has employed 4 labourers from Bihar since 2001, to look after 10 acres of his farmland.
"From almost every village 60-70 per cent of the Punjabi youth have migrated to Canada and the U.S. resulting in the loss to farming. If workers from Bihar and Uttar Pradesh do not come here, the work in our farms will come to a halt. We are dependent on migrant labour and 60-70 per cent of labour is from Bihar," Singh said.
According to estimates, there are more than 40 lakh migrants in Punjab, and Ludhiana, the state's industrial hub, is home to around 20 lakh migrants who work in the textile, knitting and spare parts industry.
For close to five decades, migrants have been coming to work in Punjab's fields and industry. Many people from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar don't just work as labourers in Punjab; they have established their own factories. I am the resident of Ludhiana and if I talk about this city, there are many areas dominated by migrants," said D. S. Chawla, President of United Cycle and Parts Manufacturing Association.
"The clothes and food sold there is from their region. I believe, now in Punjab there is not a much of difference between a Punjabi and a migrant. Frankly speaking, we can't survive without them and they can't survive without us," he added.
Manju Devi and her husband are from Bihar and have been in Punjab for over eight years. We are earning on a daily basis to feed our family and educate our children. We even send money back home. We are making progress," Devi said.
It's a fact - migrant labourers have been the mainstay of Punjab's agricultural economy. And as Punjabi youth has been migrating abroad, the need of migrant labour is paramount for Punjab's prosperity. (ANI)