The migrant workers of Tiruppur, the textile city of Tamil Nadu, are facing uncertainty as several units are shut down following fluctuating yarn prices. The city, which was once buzzing with activity, is now in lockdown mode.
While speaking to IANS, Sujit Mandal, a migrant worker from Midnapore in West Bengal, who has been working in the textile city as a tailor, said, “There is uncertainty all around and we don’t have any means to survive here after the textile units have shut down as a protest demanding increase in yarn prices.”
He adds, “Presently we are surviving at the benevolence of our owner who provides us food from his home. However, there seems to be no solution in sight as the protests have been continuing for the past two months and nothing has happened.”
According to the Tamil Nadu revenue department, there are around 1.3 lakh migrant workers in Tiruppur district but the total number as ascertained by the industrial safety and health department is only 64,300.
The exact number of migrant workers in the district is not clear and revenue department officials said that their report was based on the figures they arrived at during the relief measures taken during Covid-19. The officials said that several workers had moved out of Tiruppur and had gone back home.
The Tiruppur Export Association (TEA) president K.M. Subramnain said that they had put forward a proposal to the Southern Railway to register the workers as soon as they reach the railway station. He said that his organisation is yet to receive a response from the Southern Railway.
There are around 6200 dyeing, knitting, stitching, and garment printing units in and around Tiruppur, and the exact number of migrant workers in these units is not known.
There are around 12,000 migrant workers from Odisha who are employed in various industries, including textile industries, in the district. While most of them are engaged in textile industry, some are working in other industries.
Subodh Raj, a worker from Odisha who was employed in an export unit, while speaking to IANS said, “We are returning back to our home town and will scout for a new job there.”