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Friday, Oct 18, 2019

Siwan, Gopalganj Lok Sabha seats have maximum emigrants in Bihar, fewer job avenues

Migration of labourers has been a burning issue during polls. In the absence of job opportunities and poor industrial growth, people emigrate from the state, either to other states or, if they can, overseas.

lok-sabha-elections Updated: May 09, 2019 16:28 IST
Rakesh Singh
Rakesh Singh
Hindustan Times, Patna
In the absence of job opportunities and poor industrial growth, people emigrate from Bihar, either to other states or, if they can, overseas.
In the absence of job opportunities and poor industrial growth, people emigrate from Bihar, either to other states or, if they can, overseas.(HT File / Representative Photo )
         

Siwan and Gopalganj, going to polls in the sixth phase of Lok Sabha elections on May 12, have the maximum number of emigrants among all districts of Bihar. The emigrant figures in the twin districts point towards shrinking job opportunities in these areas.

Figures procured from the regional passport office here say that in 2018, a total of 47,773 people of Siwan applied for passports, followed by 38,182 in Gopalganj. The third largest number of passport applicants in Bihar are from Patna. “The lowest number of applications (854) for passports came from Sheohar in 2018,” said regional passport officer, Patna, PM Sahai.

In the sixth phase, polling would be held in Valmikinagar, West Champaran, East Champaran, Sheohar, Vaishali, Gopalganj (SC), Siwan, and Maharajganj constituencies.

Migration of labourers has been a burning issue during polls. In the absence of job opportunities and poor industrial growth, people emigrate from the state, either to other states or, if they can, overseas.

The Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) survey conducted in 2018 shows that among the top three priorities of voters in Bihar, 49.95% wanted better employment opportunities, 41.43% wanted availability of water for agriculture, and 39.09% wanted better hospitals/primary health care centres.

The survey further says that in rural Bihar, the 50% voters wanted better employment opportunities, while 47% of the urban electorate also preferred better job avenues.

The eastern part of Bihar, including Katihar, Kishanganj, Madhepura, Supaul and Araria, from where a large number of people emigrate within the country, have low numbers of passport applicants in comparison to other districts.

Portraying the industrial scenario, the official website of the Bihar government on Siwan says that “small industries dominated by micro-enterprises and artisan-based industries play a significant role in the industrial sector in Bihar. But over the years, the industrial scenario is seeing a gradual decline.”

The website further says that “four industrial units are currently operating in Siwan, out of which two are cement units”. It says that the district has the potential of dairy industry and there are plans to set up a processing unit, adding that the construction section is seeing a boost as NRIs are returning to Siwan and investing in building houses.

Detailing the industrial scene of Gopalganj, the official website of the state government says that the district has industries such as “sugar, vegetable oil, irrigation, etc. The industrial area is located in Gopalganj, Sasamusa, Sidhwalia, and Hatua”.

DM Diwakar, former director of the AN Sinha Institute, Patna’s leading social research institute, said that people emigrating from Siwan and Gopalganj outside the country were semi-skilled and unskilled labourers. “The figures of passport applicants reflect ‘jobless growth’ in Bihar. They migrate to Gulf countries through agents located in Mumbai and work there for some years to collect money. On their return, they set up petty businesses in the district,” he said.

He added that work had been done to improve the infrastructure in Bihar, but that had not created jobs, as machines were involved in the work. The districts (barring Patna) from which people emigrate in maximum numbers had a low per capita income, he said. The figures also indicated poor industrial growth in these areas, forcing people to move out in search of greener pastures, he added. 

First Published: May 09, 2019 16:28 IST

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