09 May 2020  |   05:33am IST

Migrants are humans too, and they have a home too

A letter by a captain of industry urging the CM to reconsider his decision to make arrangements for the smooth travel of migrants planning on returning to their home base opens a hornet’s nest. For the first time, a captain of industry has conceded that migrants are the backbone of Goa’s industry. But is it correct to deny them a passage home, because the industry “needs them” Café spoke to various businessmen in the state to understand their response to the letter.
Migrants are humans too, and they have a home too

Ajit John;

If migrants in Goa needed any validation that Goa would be shut and crippled if they left, they got it, albeit indirectly. In a backhanded ‘compliment’, if one can call it that, Goan industry officially told the Chief Minister of Goa, that if migrants left, Goan industry would suffer. Manoj Caculo, President Goa Chamber of Commerce and Industry, who wrote the letter was almost indignant that  migrants who “were provided shelter and food and wages during lockdown and that they were not stranded in the true sense” are getting  free ride to their home states”,  leaving their employers  ‘high and dry”. Caculo mentioned that if the workers who were going back home, would take a long time to return and will effect the working of many sectors.

There is a growing feeling that the relationship between migrants and their employers is akin to master-slave one, where the migrant slave is much needed and therefore cannot leave as his masters work and business will be affected

Café spoke to  a selection of industrialists and entrepreneurs on their take on the content of the GCCI  President’s letter to the Goa chief Minister Dr. Pramod Sawant


Migrants  are also a significant part of the vote bank of many politicians

They are all basically frightened and they want to leave. But I see it as an opportunity for Goans to take these jobs. People from the UK have lost their jobs and they can look for jobs in Goa. Many of the migrant labourers who are leaving are from industries like hospitality, fishing and construction which are shut now.

They are also a significant part of the vote bank of many politicians for whom even 500 votes can make a difference. This can be a time for the reset of the Goan economy. Goans can take up these jobs and reduce the dependence on these people.  Or if that does not happen the migrants may come back in a couple of months and take these jobs which are vital in the economy. We should then however stop calling them names which has become so common now- Blaise Costabir l GMI Zarkah Moulding Pvt Ltd


You cannot treat them as commodities, if they want to go, they will go.

You have to understand that retail and mining is labour intensive. Now emotions have taken over and many of them want to return home. You cannot blame them. Many of them like us would like to spend time in these times with our loved ones. If we stop them from going, they will never come back. Herd mentality has now taken over with one person deciding to leave and others around him deciding to do the same. You cannot treat them like commodities, if they want to go, they will go. How can stop anyone from leaving, freedom of movement is intrinsic.  Karnataka had banned the movement of migrants and then reversed it after an outcry.  This is life we are talking about and everyone’s lives are precious to themselvesAnil Pereira  Delfinos


If these people go and not return who will take their place? Not Goans 

It is true migrants were well fed and this is now the season for them to go home. They are getting a free ride and how are they being allowed to do this. This is complete foolishness. If they leave and then return then it will be a bigger problem. They will have to be tested and quarantined. You have to understand Goa cannot run without migrants. This is all politics. The government is under pressure and they are allowing these people to leave. If these people go and not return who will take their place. These jobs are very hard and Goans will not be willing to do it. Farming, fishing are activities done by migrants. That’s the reality on the ground- Vinay Borkar, Borkar,  Borkar super stores



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