Farmers cheer as Covid-hit labourers return for harvest

Workers upbeat as their wages have been increased

Farmers cheer as Covid-hit labourers return for harvest

Migrant workers have started returning amid paddy procurement season in .- Tribune photo: Pawan Sharma

Sameer Singh

Tribune News Service

Bathinda, October 2

Farmers in the Malwa region are happy to see migrant workers, who had left for their native villages in the wake of Covid-19, return for paddy harvesting and procurement season.

Ramu Kaka, a migrant labourer at the grain market in Bathinda, said: “I returned to my village in Bihar, but with no source of income I couldn’t arrange two square meals for my family members. So, when markets started to open, I decided to return to Punjab for paddy harvesting and procurement season.”

Another migrant labourer, Deen Dyal from UP, said, “I had to take the Covid-19 test twice — once at my home state and then in Delhi before reaching Bathinda. I had no alternative, but to return to sustain my family.” Labourers are upbeat as their wages for loading and unloading of agricultural produce have also been increased.

Many arhtiyas in the region had made arrangements for the safe travel of migrant labourers back to the state.

In a grain market at Goniana block, Jaspal Singh, a farmer, said, “Farmers have breathed a sigh of relief as migrant labourers have returned during the paddy procurement season.”

Another farmer said, “During the wheat procurement season, we had to depend on local labourers, who were not as hard working and reliable as migrant workers.”

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