Pune: The number of intra-state migrant labourers who have reverse migrated to their native place is higher in Pune than in Mumbai. Of the total migrant labourers, 43 per cent were from Marathwada region. Also, out of the total students hailing from Marathwada region, 46 per cent have left Pune for their native place, a study has revealed.
From the first lockdown onward, migrant labourers started to walk to their native places on a large scale. Several restrictions on travels and movement across states and districts could not stop this reverse migration. The Unique Foundation and Department of Politics and Public Administration of Savitribai Phule Pune University conducted a joint survey to study this unique phenomenon.
The semi-skilled and unskilled workers have returned to their villages due to job loss, non-payment of salaries and fear of COVID-19. These workers are willing to return to the cities and grab opportunities created due to reverse migration of labourers from other states.
As per the economic survey, 70 per cent employment in the state is generated in the belt of Mumbai city, Mumbai suburbs, Thane, Raigad, Pune and Nashik. This belt has been the most affected by the COVID-19 outbreak too which has complicated matters for the migrant labourers.
Dr Rajeshwari Deshpande, Principal Investigator, said, “The reverse migration study was conducted because of the current COVID-19 pandemic crisis. But otherwise too, the urban centres in the state and also the country had limited employment opportunities for the workers. The weakened economies of the cities had already forced the workers to migrate to other places.”
Dr Vivek Ghotale, Executive Director of The Unique Foundation, said, “The lack of opportunities in the agricultural sector and lack of jobs has been the major reason for migration from backward regions. Out of the total workers surveyed in the Pune region, Mumbai city and Mumbai suburbs, 53 per cent of workers were from the Marathwada region. The workers who had returned to their villages from Pune city was 43 per cent. This shows that the migration from Marathwada region to other big cities is very large.”
- Migrated with entire family
- 63 per cent of migrated workers stay with family
- 50 per cent of workers were staying for more than three years in cities
- 77 per cent of workers do not own a house