Maharashtra’s drought has forced many farmers to abandon their farms and head to the city for a living.
With 70 percent of the state’s villages affected by drought, thousands of farmer families have been rendered jobless. With limited earning opportunities in the villages, even the farmers who have acres of land at their disposal, have migrated to cities like Mumbai, Pune, Nashik, Thane etc in a bid to earn a living. Mumbai alone has witnessed thousands of farmer families from the drought-hit Marathwada migrating to the city over the past few months.
The city, which by no means is a stranger to migrant workers, has no dearth of labour intensive jobs. But the city’s worker union have a penchant for making things difficult for migrant workers. As a result, many are forced to take up menial contract based jobs.
The city’s civic body, unhappy with the work of contract workers last year, had decided to allot pre-monsoon work to ward offices this year. Since the offices don’t have a large workforce at their disposal, they outsource the work to NGOs who are affiliated with the migrant farmer families.
As a result, thousands of migrant farmers have managed to get contract jobs with the BMC. Although most of the workers have been contracted for carrying out nullah cleaning work, they are being paid a respectable Rs 500 for a 9 am to 5 pm shift. Kandivli’s R/South ward alone had employed over 1200 workers.
Many families are planning on working in the city for another month or two and invest their earnings to buy seeds for the upcoming monsoon.
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