Free mobiles, bicycles for retaining Bihar migrant labourers

Free mobiles, bicycles for retaining Bihar migrant labourers

Ludhiana (Punjab): Facing acute labour shortage mainly due to less influx of migrant labourers, particularly from Bihar, employers are doling out freebies like mobile phones and bicycles to lure workers.

Witnessing almost 30 per cent labour shortage, nearly 5000 small and big manufacturers of bicycles and parts in Ludhiana, popularly known as the country’s “bicycle capital”, are facing threat of closure, traders said. Some of the leading names in the bicycle manufacturing here include Hero, Avon and Rolex.

The ill-effect of the labour crisis is also felt on the farm sector as well as on textile manufacturing in the district.

MGNREGA was another factor pointed out for this.

“The labourers are also given mobile recharge coupons of Rs 50 to Rs 200 denominations to talk to their families,” D S Chawla, former president of United Cycle and Parts Manufacturing Association, told PTI.

A bicycle costing around Rs 2500 is given either free or for a paltry sum to these labourers so that they can paddle to their work place, P D Sharma, president of Chamber of Commerce and Industries (Punjab), said.

A survey has found that migration of labourers from Bihar in search of livelihood to places like Punjab and Delhi has declined by over 26 per cent, thanks to initiatives taken by the Nitish Kumar government in the past five years to check their exodus.

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