National

Exodus of migrant labourers hits MSMEs in Mangaluru

AJ Vinayak | Updated on May 27, 2020 Published on May 27, 2020

Micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in Mangaluru are facing shortage of workforce following the return of migrant labourers to their native places in the past few weeks.

Henry CF Britto, former president of the Kanara Small Industries Association (KSIA), told BusinessLine that there is acute shortage of labour in the Baikampady Industrial Area in Mangaluru, as a majority of the migrant labourers have left for their native places. Migrant labourers constituted 60-70 per cent of the labour force in the industrial area.

Many of the migrant labourers, who have collected their salaries for April, have left for their native places without even informing their employers, he said.

Isaac Vas, president of Kanara Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI), told BusinessLine that though the Centre permitted operations of some industrial units after April 20, the State government decided to defer it till the first week of May. But the migrant labourers had made up their minds to go back when the movement of ‘Shramik’ trains began in the first week of May.

He said many of these migrant labourers would have stayed back in the region had the State government allowed the industries to operate after April 20.

He estimated that nearly 45,000 migrant labourers working in different sectors in the region, including in MSMEs, would have left for their native places in the past few weeks.

Britto said that even the totally unskilled migrant labour was getting around ₹10,000 a month. Those possessing different skillsets were getting around ₹25,000 a month, including overtime wages.

He said that Baikampady Industrial Area has around 700 MSME units. Of these, nearly 90 per cent are affected by the exodus of migrant labourers from the region.

Britto suggested that the government provide dwelling units to migrant labourers in industrial areas, where they could live with their families. Then, such mass migrations will not take place, he added.

Published on May 27, 2020
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