Punjab farmers face labour shortage

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Ludhiana, June 11 (ANI): With the shortage of migrant workers in Ludhiana, the farmers here are a worried lot and flock the railway station to find labourers to work in their fields.

The labours basically migrate from Bihar and Uttar Pradesh and work in the farms in Punjab.

The farmers waiting outside the railway station in search of labourers said they are having a tough time convincing the labourers to work in their fields.

The farmers are experiencing the low inflow of labourers and increased rates demanded by the labourers.

"We are facing this problem for the first time. Earlier, the rates of the labourers used to be very low; now the rates are really high. Earlier, we use to give them food, now they are demanding chicken to eat and money for their mobile phone expenses," said Dayal Singh, a farmer.

"They are asking for all the facilities. They are asking for Rs 2,500; earlier, we use to pay only Rs 1,200. Most of the migrant labourers who used to come earlier to work in the farm sector are getting better jobs and pay under the government employment schemes," he added.

Pavitra Pal Singh, an expert in paddy cultivation said the labourers are refusing to work in the farm fields in spite of farmers sending the advance money to them.

"The labour problem is so acute that the farmers are not able to get any labourers. The farmers and the members of Punjab Agriculture University (PAU) farmers club have sent advance money to the labourers since two months, but still they are refusing to come and work in the farm fields," said Singh.

"Hence, the harvesting season, which was due today won't be able to commence and the farmers would only be able to harvest from June 18 or June 20," he added. (ANI)

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