Be Choosy About Migrant Hirelings

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PACHU MENON, MARGAO

PICKING up workers for odd-jobs from the ‘naka’ has been a practice that has prevailed for a long time  in the state. Daily wage workers congregating at a specified area in the city and soliciting work from prospective customers is a common sight. Initially the ‘naka’ was the sourcing point for labourers and helpers only. But nowadays the availability of even skilled workers at these points makes the ‘naka’ the apt place to engage workers from for various jobs. These ‘rokada’ workers, as they are categorised, are to be paid for their services at the end of the day. A very convenient arrangement no doubt, but one that is fraught with enough risks to be a cause of concern! If one is to throw a casual glance around the motley crowd of workers at the ‘naka’ one would be surprised to know that for every one of those actually concerned about gaining employment for the day, there are an equal number who are only bothered about making enough money for indulging in their daily vices. Moreover, it is the migrant workers who constitute the bulk of those gathering at the ‘naka’. Since most of the workers are sought by small-time contractors who undertake  odd-jobs in private residences, it would be necessary to have the workers identifying themselves as ones with no antecedents  of crimes. But then, police verification forms which have assumed so much of importance these days are apparently not ‘deemed’ prerequisites for employing outsiders when it comes to hiring workers from the ‘naka’, or so it would seem. It would also be a burdensome task for the police to make background checks on all migrants who gather at the ‘naka’. With the spate of crimes involving outsiders on the rise in the state it would have been pertinent to have people employing these workers insisting on checking their antecedents. But it never happens! Instead of blaming the police for not being sufficiently vigilant, the onus is on the public to ensure that under the pretext of getting jobs done, they are not inviting criminals into their houses.