It's a drought of jobs for agri workers this season

It's a drought of jobs for agri workers this season

Hit by severe drought and unemployment, migrant agricultural labourers have been struggling to earn a livelihood.

A ban on mining and the scarcity of rainfall have reduced the number of construction projects in the area which has resulted in a severe decline in the demand for workers. Many are clueless how to make ends meet.

Most workers, who come here accompanied by their wives and children, struggle to subsist on an income of just Rs 150-Rs 220 a day.

Workers from Joladarashi, Kakkabevinahalli, Belagala, Kolagala, Sridharagadde, Kappagallu, Sirivaara, Moka, D Gonala, Belegala Tanda, Oblapuram from Andhra Pradesh and surrounding villages arrive at the Kulima Bazar and Koul Bazaar near Kanekal Bus Station everyday by 7 am in search of construction work. Many are turned away by contractors who can afford to only hire enough number of workers for construction projects.

Speaking to Deccan Herald, Hanumanthappa, a contractor, said, “The number of workers who come here on a daily basis are twice more than required. Earlier, we had problems finding workers during this season when agricultural activities begin. But the situation has reversed this year.”

Another contractor, Rudranna, said, “Due to the lack of rainfall and the resulting decline in agricultural work, there has there been a large-scale migration from rural areas.

Many of these workers would have stayed back if there were jobs, but that is not so. Here, we find it difficult to get jobs ourselves and in this situation we are unable to provide them with any,” he said.

“Because of  lack of employment in villages, we come here in the hopes of earning wages. But due to the uncertainity in the jobs market, we have nowhere else to go,” said Ramanjaneya, a worker.

A majority also find it difficult to cope with construction jobs since they are accustomed to agricultural work.

“Our work is highly dependent on rainfall. But because we are left with no choice, we have been forced to undertake this work till agriculture activity resumes,” said Renukamma, a resident of Kappagallu.

She said that many other workers were already on their way to Bangalore, Mangalore, Udupi and Goa in search of employment.

Agricultural migrant labourers from areas near irrigated land hope that with the onset of rain, the Tungabhadra Reservoir, which had gone dry, will fill up, bringing them relief.

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