Farmers offer ‘desi daru’, food, fodder for cattle to labourers : The Tribune India

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Farmers offer ‘desi daru’, food, fodder for cattle to labourers

Farmers offer ‘desi daru’, food, fodder for cattle to labourers

Farm labourers plant paddy saplings in a field at Naushera Khurad village in Amritsar.

Tribune News Service

Amritsar, June 17

The shortage of labourers for paddy transplantation during the scorching heat has not only pushed up labour charges but is also forcing farmers to offer various incentives, be it free fodder for their animals, food or even ‘desi daru’. Farmers in villages on the outskirts of the city say that per acre labour charges have reached to nearly Rs 5,000.

Harman Singh Chauhan of Jandiala said, “Every farmer is in a hurry to complete the work as early as possible. Meanwhile, there is no adequate number of local labourers who want to work in paddy fields. What has been observed is that the availability of migrant workers for paddy transplantation has decreased over the last few years.”

At Tabowali village near the airport, farmers are paying from Rs 4,500 to Rs 5,000 per acre along with fodder and other incentives. “If men are treated to ‘desi daru’ (country-made liquor) in the evening, women workers are provided with their favourite food,” said Sahib Singh.

Some farmers said workers prefer working for those who pay them most and as such those with large landholdings are trying every method to make them accept their offer so that they can complete work on time.

Jaspreet Singh from Sainian village in Gurdaspur said, “Migrant workers are being given free ration along with a place to stay.” He said usually it is the set norm followed in all villages where along with labour charges, the workers are being given other facilities.

Easy availability of migrant workers has become a thing of the past due to MGNREGA and several large road projects in different states. Besides, a majority of the local labourers too prefer to work in shops, hotels and other establishments instead of working out in the blistering heat.

Considering the fact that usually four healthy persons manage to transplant an acre a day, a minimum of Rs 4,000 per acre charges mean that they end up getting Rs 1,000 each. As compared to daily wage charges of Rs 400-Rs 500, those who do not mind a little discomfort are ready to work in the fields.

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