Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) vice-president and Majha zone in-charge OP Soni, while describing the migrant population of Punjab, especially those from Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, as an integral part of the state's development, regretted that the SAD-BJP government continued to treat them as 'outsiders'.
"You have to struggle for Aadhaar cards, ration cards, electricity meters, gas connections and even have to pay thousands to the contractors of various departments, who hire you for work," said Soni while addressing a gathering, mainly of migrants, on the occasion of Goverdhan Puja and Vishwakarma Day here on Monday.
The function was organised on Batala Road by the Punjab unit of the Rashtriya Bihar Vikas Manch. Its president Parshuram Sharma welcomed Soni and other Congress leaders on the occasion.
He said Bihari migrants despite living and working in Punjab for decades had not been patronised by the state governments over the years. Most of the migrant people were still termed as 'parvasis' (outsiders), which was not a right term as they were also Indians, he added.
"You have played a very important role in the development of agriculture and industry in Punjab. With local labour not being available, it is you who have kept Punjab moving forward," he said in their praise.
He regretted that due to "visionless" policies of the SAD-BJP government a number of industrial units had shut down or were in the process of doing so. This had thrown many jobless and forced many others to take to other means of self-employment, where there was no fixed monthly income, he added, while calling upon the government to come up with a realistic industrial policy which would ensure employment to migrants.
Soni promised that his party would take up the problems of the migrants not only with the state government but also with the central government. Others who addressed the migrants included Congress leaders JS Samra, Karamjit Singh Rintu and former mayor Sunil Dutti.