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Thiruvananthapuram: The City Police Commissioner's office has directed builders, hoteliers, contractors and manpower suppliers employing migrant labourers to register their workforce with the local police.
The police suspect that a considerable number of migrant workers claiming to be from Bihar and West Bengal are illegal immigrants from Bangladesh.
They are also concerned that lawbreakers, including extremist elements and insurgents, can seek refuge in migrant labour camps. There has also been a marginal increase in crimes, chiefly burglaries, involving migrants.
The police have scant information on the migrant workforce, with the majority employed in the construction sector. Several farmers in the suburbs also employ them.
The police are collecting intelligence on those who imported labourers from other States in significant numbers.
Unauthorised labour suppliers imported migrant labour without recruitment licence from the home State of the workers or employment licence of the State Labour Department.
They recruited poor people by paying an initial amount of Rs.10,000 or more to their families. These “faceless middlemen” offered companies cheap labour for less than Rs.300 a day. The labourers would be paid only half the amount.
The company (principal employer) that hired these workers should register their employees with the Labour Department. The labour contractor should pay the wages to the migrant workers in the presence of the principal employer. However, these laws were observed more in the breach.
The migrant workers, most of them poor and illiterate, rarely understood or reported these violations in fear of losing their employment.
The police have opened separate registers at all station houses to record the details of migrant labourers. The photograph, fingerprint, mobile telephone number (if any) and original address of the labourer will be recorded in the register.
The police will crosscheck the identity of the labourer with the police in his/ her home district. Those identified as illegal immigrants will be deported.
Henceforth, employers have to inform the police about the import of migrant labour, where the workers are housed and also when their contract period expires.
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