Mumbai News

Mumbai To Feel Impact Of Reverse Migration Till October, Says Industry – NDTV

60,000 to 70,000 migrants left in buses and trucks and other means like autos, tempos


Mumbai’s reverse migration with hordes of labourers leaving for their home states, thousands of kilometres away, could have a long lasting impact on a city that has offered a dream to almost everyone who’s landed up here. Between one to two lakh migrant workers have already left the city.

Nearly one lakh migrant labourers have left by ‘shramik trains’ from Maharashtra. Sources have told NDTV another 60,000 to 70,000 cases left in buses and trucks and other means like autos, tempos. Thousands have walked or cycled so the actual figure could well be over two lakh. Chief minister Uddhav Thackeray has released Rs 55 lakh to fund transport for around 10 lakh stranded migrants to their home states as workers simply want to go home.

The Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation has ferried over 72,000 migrants free of cost and one lakh will be transported by the end of the week. Industry voices are worried about this mass exodus with just about one third of the migrant labour remaining at their places of work.

CMD of the Hiranandani Group and President of NAREDCO (National Real Estate Development Council), Niranjan Hiranandani, told NDTV, “There is a fear in the minds of the workers that if we go back and there is a lockdown again what is the position that we will be left in. So there is going to be a tension for them to come back. Today what we see is that one-third of migrant labour is still available on the site. That is a general estimate that I am making. Of course this would vary from place to place.”

Mr. Hiranandani adds the impact will be felt till the month of October. He says the migrant workers will have to be assured that they will never be left in the lurch like this again for them to return. “To draw these people back who have left to go back to their villages I think will take quite some time. My estimate would be that the earliest possible return of these workers would be somewhere in September or October of this year. So we will have to wait a while before full operative work takes place where all these migrant workers are likely to be called back,” he told NDTV.

Speaking to NDTV on Left, Right and Centre, Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways, Nitin Gadkari, sounded confident that migrant workers will eventually return. “They come to states like Maharashtra because they don’t have employment in their villages. They will come when everything restarts and they are reassured. Migration is because of fear and by natural forces they will come back,” Mr Gadkari said.

The state government is planning a labour bureau for industrial workers, says Maharashtra’s industries minister Subhash Desai. The state is in touch with industry bodies to address the demand for labour when the factories reopen to full capacity and infrastructure and construction projects start. Restarting and reopening will take time in Mumbai and other parts of Maharashtra as the lockdown extension is almost certain. But when it does, the state government says, a plan is ready.