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discussion:Participants at a public hearing on conditions of migrant workers from Hyderabad Karnataka region, in Bangalore on Sunday.
Bangalore: Gundappa, a migrant from Lingsugur in Raichur district, lives in the most inhospitable conditions in Bangalore. He pays a rent of Rs. 500 to pitch a plastic tent on a vacant piece of land and Re. 1 for a pot of drinking water.
Most migrant labourers from the backward Hyderabad-Karnataka region working in Bangalore have a similar story to tell.
Mr. Gundappa said that his most recent troubles were regarding the education of his four children, even though the Right to Education Act is in force. “We could not afford the fees at the school my children were enrolled in at Bangalore. When we decided to enrol them in a government school in Raichur, the school (in Bangalore) would not give us the transfer certificate.”
He finally got the transfer certificate after activists of the Human Rights Forum for Dalit Liberation (HRFDL) intervened. “Now my children study back in our village,” said Mr. Gundappa.
He was among those who spoke at a public hearing on the conditions of migrant workers from Hyderabad-Karnataka region, organised by the HRFDL here on Sunday.
“Politicians come asking for our votes, but never ask if we have water to drink,” said Sabanna from Manvi in Raichur district.
Mr. Sabanna and Mr. Gundappa find work on a day-to-day basis with various BBMP contractors and earn Rs. 200 on a good day. “It is better than the Rs. 80 to Rs. 100 we earn back home,” said Mr. Gundappa.
Basavaraj Kowthal, State convener of HRFDL, said there were an estimated three lakh migrants from Hyderabad-Karnataka region in Bangalore, most of them working as unskilled labourers in the most inhuman conditions.
Katyayini Chamaraja, executive trustee of CIVIC Bangalore, said that the budgetary allocation for the development of the Hyderabad-Karnataka region was Rs. 2,000 crore, which was about 15 times less than what was allocated for infrastructure projects in Bangalore.
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