Bengali labour 011

Soon, the cops in Ernakulam rural district will start regularly visiting the camps of inter-state labourers and interacting with them in their native language.

In view of the rising number of crimes involving migrant labourers in and around Perumbavoor—the hub of inter-State labour migration in Kerala—the police are embarking on a policing scheme focused exclusively on this labour community. It envisages cooperation of the police and labourer community in security matters. The scheme, already underway on a trial basis in two police stations—Kalady and Perumbavoor—is slated for a formal launch in November.

“As per our estimates, about seven lakh inter-state migrant labourers are camping within the Ernakulam rural limits, while the total number of policemen are just around 300. There is no way we can reach out to all of them and hence this programme is being taken up,” said Yathish Shandra G.H, Superintendent of Police, Ernakulam Rural.

It will be implemented by appointing beat-officers and assistant beat officers, who are required to co-ordinate activities against anti-social elements and crimes in the labour camps. Welfare measures like medical camps and awareness programmes to counter violence will also be started in these areas.

Social scientists, while welcoming the concept, also emphasised the need to develop the system such a way to make them socially inclusive. “The focus of the scheme should be on bridging the deficit gap between the labourer community and the native people. Further, there is also a need to break the unholy nexus between their employer, local politicians and labour contractors, which is preventing the labourers from interacting each other as well as with the public,” observed Martin Patrick, chief economist, Centre for Public Policy and Research, Kochi, an expert in the dynamics of inter-State migrant workers