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Daily wage workers find going tough in absence of jobs

A large contingent of daily wage workers said they are unable to find work since the demonetisation of higher value currency notes. Also, they said they are finding it problematic to exchange their ₹500 and ₹1,000 notes.

noida Updated: Nov 15, 2016 00:04 IST
Peeyush Khandelwal
Daily wage workers said that the demonetisation has reduced availability of jobs at labour chowk in Ghaziabad and Noida.
Daily wage workers said that the demonetisation has reduced availability of jobs at labour chowk in Ghaziabad and Noida.(Ameeruddin/HT)

A large contingent of daily wage workers said they are unable to find work since the demonetisation of higher value currency notes. Also, they said they are finding it problematic to exchange their ₹500 and ₹1,000 notes.

Thirty-two-year-old Sachin Kumar, a daily wage worker, said he was turned away by a bank in Noida when he tried to exchange his currency notes.

“There is hardly any work since the demonetisation. I had gone to a bank but the officials asked me to go to another branch for exchanging the notes. I had gone with three-four other workers but we were all told the same,” Kumar said.

“There is hardly any work available at labour chowks and savings in my account is my only source of money. I don’t even know whether my account is operational. I will go to the bank again and find out,” said Kumar, who stays in Behrampur with his family of four.

Suresh Sharma, of Indrapuri in Loni, who undertakes carpentry work at under-construction houses, said, “Sometimes, there is work but we are paid in the invalid ₹500 and ₹1,000 notes. I don’t have a bank account but I traded my ₹1,000 note for ₹800 from an acquaintance in Govindpuram.”

Daily wage workers said that the demonetisation has also reduced availability of jobs at labour chowk in Ghaziabad and Noida. Workers gather at labour chowks in the morning, from where they are hired by contractors and are paid wages by the day.

“Each worker gets around ₹300-₹350 depending on the type of work. They mostly work at under-construction buildings, and undertake jobs such as setting up tiles, stone work, painting, etc. The availability of work has decreased. Now, a couple of hundred labourers can be seen standing daily at labour chowks without any work,” Ramanand Pandit, secretary of Hamara Adhikar Mazdoor Sangathan, a workers’ body, said.

“Work has slowed down as people are just able to fulfil their daily basic needs first and then go for other works later,” he said.

Ghaziabad has around 13 labour chowks with the main ones at Vijay Nagar, Nasirpur, Ghanta Ghar and Sahibabad. According to the district labour department, Ghaziabad has nearly 80,000 registered daily labourers while the number of unregistered, migrant labourers may be much higher, officials said.

Deputy labour commissioner for Ghaziabad DK Singh said,“Our department has not received specific instructions regarding daily labourers and about any issue they may face in the present circumstances. Everyone is facing the same problem.”

Meanwhile, to help workers, district magistrate of Gautam Budh Nagar, NP Singh, ordered private developers to arrange a meal of puri and sabzi for the workers for at least a week. The directions were issued on the order of the Uttar Pradesh chief minister, following complaints.