When it comes to paddy transplantation, the migrant labour from Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and some other states, contributes a lot to meet the acute labour crisis in the region.
It is another possible reason that, perhaps, distracts the farmers from the direct sowing of rice (DSR), otherwise, if the migrant labour is not available for paddy transplantation, farmers may be forced to shift towards the technique.
“A large number of migrants have permanently been camping near our village and cater to our needs of round the year. Early in the morning, hundreds of these migrants go with farmers on their trolleys for paddy transplantation daily,” said Gurmeet Singh, a farmer from Bukan Singh Nagar village, near Kotkapura.
“If that migrant labour is not available, there would be acute shortage of labour for paddy transplantation. During the paddy season, they also invite their relatives for work, but after the transplanting season is over, their womenfolk work in vegetable fields, while men are mostly engaged in construction works,” Gurmeet said. Farmers also prefer the migrant labour for paddy transplantation as they finish the work very fast. “Every year, we look for the migrant labour because they complete the work very fast,” said Jaswinder Singh, a farmer from Jhakharwala village.
They say it saves water and time and enable the farmers to apply herbicides etc in time. ”But this year, I am having the transplantation done by the local labour, I have to repeatedly fill the fields with water and most of time it goes waste,” he said.
“Migrant labour helps finish paddy transplantation easily and fast, otherwise, it would have been very difficult to finish the task that officially starts from June 10,” said Jagjeet Singh, a farmer from Panjgrain Kalan village.
“During the transplantation season, each of us earns about Rs 700 per day as our three men finish the transplantation over an acre in a day. The rates for paddy transplantation are from Rs 2,000 to Rs 2,300 per acre,” said Roshan, a labourer from Bihar.
But their day is of about 14 to 15 hours from dawn to dusk with a very hard work.
Besides the migrant people, some locals also perform the work of transplantation of paddy to earn extra and work along with children and women.
Makhan Singh, 35, was seen working in fields full of hot water due to scorching sun along with his two minor sons, and a 12-year-old daughter, and wife.
The family of the 5 ends up nearly finishing 6 kanals in one day. The children are sometimes lured by the parents by offering a cold drink or snacks.