Reverse migration:Life comes a cropper for non-locals in Kashmir
Srinagar: A Woman rag-picker collects bottles at a deserted famous 'Fruit Mandi' on the 41st day of Strike after the abrogration of Article 370 and bifurcation of State, in Srinagar on Saturday, Sept, 14 , 2019. PTI Photo by Umar Ganie
10: On a chilly November morning, tailor
Suresh Kumar along with his four family members is busy loading his belongings
including a switching machine into a cab at Tourist Reception Center, here.
Kumar, who has
been living in Kashmir for the last 15 years, has cut-short his stay to leave
for his home in Uttar Pradesh. Scared after 11 non-locals including truckers,
apple trader and labourers were killed, Kumar decided to call it quits and
leave for his hometown in UP.
associates from Anantnag left for their homes. I don’t think it will be a wise
decision to stay here especially when many non-locals have been attacked in the
last one month,” he said.
Kumar has joined
a long list of migrant workers who have either left or winding up their
businesses to go home following attacks on non-locals in Kashmir.
A cab driver at
TRC said on an average nearly 10 to 20 taxis leave for Jammu with migrant
workers on board. “Mostly non-locals
would leave for their homes in mid-November.
In October, people, who would work in north or south Kashmir areas, have
left for their homes,” he said.
been leaving the valley since August 5 when central government abrogated
article 370 and bifurcated state in two union territories.
reveal three lakh migrant labourers left Kashmir post abrogation of Article
370. In August last year, five lakh migrant labourers were present in Kashmir.
This August only two lakh labourers stayed in Kashmir.
are the backbone of the workforce that performs different jobs including
harvesting apples in Kashmir. Since local labourers are scarce, migrant
labourers are skilled and inexpensive.
“Growers had to
face immense hardship in absence of non-local labourers. Even fruit markets where they would load
apples, remained deserted this year,” said Ghulam Mohammad a grower from Pattan
area of North Kashmir.
The migration of
non-local labourers also hit developmental works in Kashmir. An official of
Roads and Building Department said work on many of their projects have been
stopped due to the absence of non-local workforce.