Mumbai hotels not attractive for Kannadigas

Mumbai hotels not attractive for Kannadigas

Who dominates hotel-restaurant business in Mumbai? If you think it is the people of Udupi-Mangalore, you need to update yourself, those days are gone. Now, in terms of workforce in restaurants, North Indians – especially bhaiyas of UP, Bihar – outnumber their Karnataka counterparts.

Of course, once upon a time  people from Tulu Nadu (as undivided Dakshina Kannada is referred to by linguists) held near monopoly of  hotel business in the commerciial capital of the country.

But now, Kannada and Tulu are not heard as often as they used to be a couple of decades ago in hotels and restaurants here.

There are nearly 20,000 hotel workers of Karnataka origin here, which is almost 50 per cent less than the figure that existed 10 years ago, says Indian Hotel and Restaurant Association (IHRA) President Narayan M Alva.  

With the changing industrial dynamics in Karnataka and the employment opportunities in their home towns, youth from Udupi and Dakshina Kannada districts are not inclined to come to Mumbai to work in hotels, he says.

Educated youth of the region, known for their cooking skill and ruthless work culture, prefer other jobs which enable them to settle down in Karnataka, while semi-educated people too do not find hotel work lucrative enough to re-locate to Mumbai.

Even hotel workers’ children are  not keen to continue in their father’s footsteps  as they find other pastures much greener and lucrative, says Ramesh Poojai, who works at a restaurant in South Mumbai. He  adds : “Working at hotels here is no longer attractive, despite the free food and accommodation. When you can earn more at your hometown or at a city like Bangalore, which is growing much faster than Mumbai, there is no point in coming all-the-way here”.

The reluctance of Karnataka youth to work in the hotels and restaurants here has paved the way for people from relatively less developed North Indian states like Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal and Jharkhand to find jobs here.

The result is bhaiyas now dominate the hotels and restaurants here, something that could not have been imagined a few years ago.

All the same, there is nothing to complain about it. The trend just implies that there has been considerable industrial growth in Karnataka which prevents migration of people to Mumbai in search of jobs, observes IHRA Executive Secretary Vasant Karkal.

Perhaps, the likes of Raj Thackeray and his ilk should rejoice over this and tick off Kannadigas from their list of unwelcome – if not illegal – immigrants.

The trend is not confined to the workforce alone. Today people with their origins in Udupi and Dakshina Kannada are gradually giving up their ownership of hotels. Those who have been running restaurants for several years are either selling their business entities or renting out real estate properties.  

“There has been at least a 20 per cent decline in the number of hotels and restaurants run by people who originally came from Dakshina Kannada and Udupi ,” says Mr Alva.

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