Faces covered and clothes soaked in mud, women can be seen industriously sowing paddy seeds in the scorching sun in Haryana. The region’s local women have stepped up to aid farmers reeling under acute labour shortage in the region.
The transplantation of paddy is in full-swing in the state. Paddy cultivation has not suffered in the absence of migrant labourers as local women have come out in support of farmers.
Leelawati, the group leader of women labourers in Darar village of Karnal district, said, “On the request of farmers, I formed a team of 15 women and started transplantation. Farmers were ready to pay more as they were in desperate need of help but we decided not to exploit their helplessness and only charge Rs 3,000 per acre.”
LOCAL LANDLESS LABOUR RISE TO THE OCCASION
Now, most farmers in paddy sowing areas of the state in Karnal, Kaithal, Kurukshetra and Yamunanagar are relying on the local landless labourers, especially women, to transplant paddy.
With farmers running from pillar to post in these unprecedented circumstances, women labourers offered to help out the farmers and agreed to work for lower wages than migrant workers.
With farmers running from pillar to post in these unprecedented circumstances, women labourers offered to help out the farmers and agreed to work for lower wages than migrant workers
Som Prakash, a small farmer from Dhanokheri village of Karnal district, said, “The locals are charging Rs 3,000 to Rs 3,500 per acre, which is lower than the migrant workers’ asking price of Rs 3,500 to Rs 4,500.”
He adding that local women were performing the task thoroughly as opposed to migrant labourers who would try to hurry in order to earn more money.
SOCIAL TIES REINFORCED
The labour crisis has, on the upside, improved the social ties between farmers and the local landless labourers.
The farmers had hitherto been dependent on the skilled migrant workers but after the lockdown they re-approached the locals.
“The migrants are charging around Rs 4,000 but we have to respect our social ties and our relationship with the farmers. We cannot let our social ties deteriorate as they always help us whenever required,” says a labourer, Sarwan Kumar of Chamrori village in Yamunanagar.