Paddy sowing: Migrants missing, local women lead the way
ROHTAK: In the absence of migrant labourers from Bihar and Uttar Pradesh during the paddy season, the women labourers from Scheduled Caste community in the villages are spearheading transplantation work in farms.
Sharmila Devi, a labourer engaged in paddy transplantation at Dobh village on Rohtak-Bhiwani highway, said they have formed a group of 18 women of Baniyani village of the district to take up the job.
“We transplant paddy in one acre in four to five hours by charging anything between Rs 4,000 to Rs 4,500 per acre and divide the money equally at the end of the day,” said Sharmila, who heads the group.
She said they have been engaged in the transplantation work for the last three years, but this season has brought double work due to paucity of migrant workers.
Bimla Devi, who runs a group of eight women at Karontha village of the district, said earlier they would go to landlords asking for work, but this time they came to their houses, asking them to transplant paddy in their fields.
She said most of them in her group are single working women as their husbands have either died or are bed-ridden due to health issues. They have a lot of responsibilities from children’s studies to run their family.
Sarla Devi, a member from Bimla Devi group, said landlords prefer women group over men for paddy transplantation as they don’t take breaks for smoking, chit-chatting over hookah or discussing politics.
“We hit the fields as early as 7am with our packed food and leave the fields by 7pm with an intention to work as much as possible,” she said.
They said for others, the exodus of migrant workers may have become an issue, but for the women from SC community in villages, it is an opportunity to earn double.
They said earlier, they used to charge Rs 2,500 per acre for the job, but now they charge between Rs 4,000 to Rs 4,500 per acre.
Manjeet Kumar, a local farmer who is getting paddy transplanted in 20 acres, said the transplanting season cannot wait till the situation gets normal or migrant workers return, so they are making the most with the available options.
“I tried to persuade the labourers who went back to their villages over the phone, but they are not ready to come and those available in the state are already occupied with work. So, local women are charging a bit extra for doing the same job,” Kumar said.
Courtesy : TNN