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Like Kerala, Karnataka to build transit homes for migrants labourers

By Bhumika Bansal

The state government plans to build four transit homes in Bengaluru, each with a capacity to accommodate at least 3000 workers. These homes will have kitchens for workers to cook their own meals. They will pay a nominal maintenance fee for the stay. Each project is expected to cost Rs 50 crore.

Karnataka is set to emulate Kerala in building transit homes for migrant workers. The move, prompted by reverse migration during the nationwide lockdown is aimed at providing better living conditions to migrant workers. The concept is based on Kerala’s widely appreciated 'Apna Ghar' Project. Labour Minister Shivaram Hebbar while confirming the development to ET, the government has identified 20 acres in Yelahanka where the first such complex will come up. He said, “I have asked my officials to identify land in three other corners of the city. We plan to accommodate 12,000- 15,000 people in the first phase of the project and gradually expand the facility.”

The migrant workers’ plight during the COVID-19 induced lockdown compelled the state government to come up with the idea. Labourers live in extremely poor conditions and hope to get better homes with safe and affordable accommodations. This is not the first time that Karnataka has planned to build homes for migrant workers. The BJP Government had given the same proposal in 2013 to the state but it didn't take off.

Karnataka has experienced large scale reverse migration of daily wage labourers following a lockdown that began at the end-March. According to the submission of the government before the High court, more than 4 lakh people of the interstate migrant have been sent back to their hometowns by the end of June. The State's Seva Sindhu Portal had received about 1.1 million applications from people who required transportation facility but with economic activities, 50% of the people have decided to stay back. According to the labour department, approximately 40% of the workers who went home during lockdown have returned.

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