In a first, a residential project has been opened by the Kerala Government for migrant labourers, which can accommodate more than 600 people. The project has been completed in the Special Economic Zone in Kanjikode, Palakkad, and is worth Rs 8.5 crore. Migrant workers will now get rental accommodation that is safe, hygienic and economical.
The Apna Ghar project, according to Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, “is a testimony of our welcoming attitude.” The hostel was visited by Vijayan ahead of the inauguration, and the facilities that are being provided for the inmates were addressed. Bhavanam Foundation, which is a state government-owned public sector non-profit company, is shouldering the project.
The Chief Minister on Saturday, February 23, inaugurated the first completed project. Among several facilities, this hostel provides mess areas, kitchens, washing and drying areas for clothes, toilets, indoor bathrooms and shared residential rooms with bunk beds. It is also equipped with fire fighting system, rainwater harvesting system, diesel generator system, 24 hours security and CCTV system.
“We have also taken security measures to ensure safety in the hostel. Security guards will be employed soon in the hostel. We will have a separate agency engaged for maintaining cleanliness in the hostel. The workers are also provided with resting areas on each floor for relaxing after a day’s long hard work,” said Dr G L Muraleedharan, Chief Operating Officer, Bhavanam Foundation.
The hostel will be available at cheap rates, between Rs 750 and Rs 1000 per month, and the inmates are expected to cook for themselves. “The workers are expected to cook as of now, but we are trying to see if we can incorporate canteen facilities in our upcoming projects,” Muraleedharan said.
A Thrissur city-based organisation, Centre of Science and Technology For Rural Development (COSTFORD), is guiding the construction of a 4,000 sq.ft building. Kerala Industrial Technical Consultancy (KITCO) also supervised the construction.
This comes days after a fake audio clip was circulated on WhatsApp, which said that migrant workers from northern and eastern parts of the country were being given death threats, inducing panic among them, reported The News Minute.
The migrant labourers
In the construction sector, over the last decade, the domestic workforce has almost been replaced by the migrant workforce, the migrant labourers forming a major section of the human workforce in Kerala. More such labourers are invited every day to the state by the growing infrastructure industry.
Studies by various agencies and government show that over four million migrant labourers from various states are accommodated in Kerala. Such a huge number of migrant labourers has a considerable impact on a relatively smaller state with 3.44 crores population, however, accommodating so many people has been no less than a challenge.
Due to this lack of accommodation, labourers often have to live in harsh conditions, with limited water and sanitation facilities. The state government, over the last few years, has finally started looking into the matter and addressing the issue. Under the department of labour and skills, Bhavanam project took up the task to provide residential projects for these migrant labourers, reported India Today.
Similar projects will be undertaken in the districts of Thiruvananthapuram, Ernakulam and Kozhikode, and the land for Thiruvananthapuram has already been sanctioned by the government. There has always been a tendency to inflict fear among these migrant labourers in the state, and hopefully, this scheme will be successful at driving away such fears and making them feel at home.