Migrant labor exodus could hit Kashmir hard


Another farmer in the area told the National Herald that the acute labor shortage will be felt in the coming days.

“If migrant workers continue to flee the valley, there will soon be a severe labor shortage,” he said.

A day after two other non-local workers were gunned down in Kulgam district in southern Kashmir, migrant workers left the valley in buses, shared taxis and trains.

On Monday, the trains that exited Nowgam station in Srinagar were more or less full of migrant workers.

Neeraj, a worker from UP, said it was difficult to work in the valley under the current circumstances.

He said many of them had been moved to safe areas while others had been told not to venture out.

However, there are many of these workers who have decided not to leave the valley.

“I have worked here since the troubled 90s and have never felt unsafe. I have not seen more humble and caring people anywhere than in the Valley. I have no intention of leaving the Valley. “said Mohan, a resident of UPPER.

A brick kiln owner in Kulgam told the National Herald that the exodus of non-local workers would result in expensive labor.

“There are around 15 to 20 brickyards in the area and in each kiln around 150 to 200 non-local workers are working. If they continue to flee the region, labor costs will increase dramatically, ”he said.

He said construction in the valley was going full steam ahead.

The owner added, however, that no worker at his kiln had fled so far.

Javed Ahmad Khan, who teaches economics at the Islamic University of Science and Technology in Awantipora, Kashmir, said: “If the current trend of exodus continues, it will decrease the output of the economy and increase labor wages ”.

Khan, however, said the exodus at this point would not have much of an impact as the valley heads into the low season.

(Gulzar Bhat is a journalist based in Srinagar. He tweets @Gulzarbhatt).


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