Distress Migration -Western Odisha

One of the unfortunate area concerning distress migration is that there is no official records as yet on actual incidence of distress migration. How ever research and micro studies indicates that internal migration is increasing over the years and it has immerged as grave concerned for the Government. Some school of thoughts says the migration phenomenon is not bad since we have the right to move and work in all parts of India. To my understanding, when migration is imposed on the people and they are compelled to migrate, it is certainly unacceptable. We must agree that when we have freedom of movement we should also enjoy the same for not moving unless we desire so. Another important aspect concerning such type of migration is the category of migrant population. So now the question is who are these migrant people? Who make them distress and marginalized destitute? One recent study by the district administration of Nuapada, one of the Western Odisha district, Indicates that 88 percent of the total migrants are distress by nature and only 12 percent are voluntary. Out of this 50 percent migrant population belong to tribal community and rest 50 percent belong to SC and Other Backward Community. The study further says 23 percent are children and out of this 12 percent are 6-14 age groups children who use to remain deprived of schooling facilities during migration period of 6-7 months in a year.

In the name of policies laws and rules these population have been displaced from their legitimate rights on land, water and forest. They were enjoying these resources at their respective villages since time immemorial and community used to conserve for long term sustainability of these resource. The main causes of distress factors in pushing this rural families out are decrease in employment in forestry sector due to large scale deforestation, failure of crops due to climate change over the years and no such long term holistic remedial measures from the Govt. to help the small and marginal farmers. High indebtedness of small and marginal farmers, landless agricultural labourers and forest dwellers, failure of implementation of labour intensive schemes of the Govt. over the years are some or the other factors. Even the much hyped MGNREGS has brought no such change to stem distress migration. In my opinion the push factors are more responsible than the pull factors for distress migration. Presently labourer of the rural India depend upon the labour dalal who advance them at the time of distress period and exploit the situation of lean period and ultimately send them to the destination place. Every year a whopping more than 300 crores is invested by the brick kiln owners of Andhra Pradesh and other states in Western Odisha district alone in this human trade. This is probably more than the figure of MGNREGS expenditure during one financial year in the said districts. Today, this type of human trade has already become an industry pushing the poor tribal into a kind of bondage.
In the following slides we have collected news paper clippings and photographs on plight of migrant families published in different sources and placed it for the knowledge of people. In this regards we like to request the people to give their views by participating in the forum discussion.

With Sincere regards
Abani Mohan Panigrahi
Member Secretary, Lokadrusti






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