Bangladesh – When getting ready for the day’s labor at a paddy field in Kuthanur, Thufan, 23, from Murshidabad in West Bengal, wears a T-shirt with the words “Palakkadan Karshaka Munnettam” written on it. He is one of the 200 or so Murshidabad employees who travel to Kerala each year to work in the paddy fields.
These male employees prefer farming since they own rice fields at home and can make up to Rs 1,300 per day, in contrast to other migrant laborers from north Indian states who toil at quarries and construction sites.
“Women laborers in the state performed the majority of these tasks, but they favor MNREGA jobs. They arrive at 7 am and depart at 1 pm. In addition, hiring a local laborer will cost Rs 5,000 per acre. Even then, the project wouldn’t be finished on time because of the significant labor scarcity in the area,” according to Sajeesh Kuthanur, secretary of Palakkadan Karshaka Munnetam.
The payment here, according to Thufan, who owns an acre of paddy land in his home country, is respectable. I have spent the last few years working in Kerala. We receive Rs. 400 per day in our state, but Rs. 700 per day here. We transplant paddy saplings from seedbeds to paddy fields for Rs 4,000 per acre. According to Thufan, we work from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., and each employee receives Rs. 1,333 per day.
Sajeesh respects their harmony. If a group of employees is having trouble finishing a stretch by dusk, their pals will join them and split the pay. They charge Rs 700 per day for manual labor such as pulling weeds and applying fertilizer, according to Sajeesh. In addition to the 11 acres taken on lease, he now holds the same number of acres from his ancestors in Kuthanur.
Sunurool Sheikh, 25, also from Murshidabad, is a member of the crew that rents a tiled godown-like hall in Kuthanur and owns 50 cents of paddy fields there. “Ponni rice dishes with potato or chicken curries are what we typically eat. We travel to other areas of the district after work, such as Pattambi, Shoranur, and Koottanad. We also travel to Thrissur and Changarakulam, where our daily pay can reach Rs 800,” the man stated.
The daily wage of migrant employees is Rs. 1,300. Work hours are from 7 am to 5 pm. In a field near Kuthanur, Palakkad, workers from Murshidabad in West Bengal plant paddy saplings.