A study by the National Institute of Rural Development and Panchayati Raj (NIRDPR) found that woman migrant labourers working in quarries in Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh are paid less compared to their male counterparts.

The institute is an autonomous organisation under the Union Ministry of Rural Development.

The study also found that child labour is prevalent in these stone quarries. Due to the poor working conditions, labourers are prone to health hazards like asthma, tuberculosis and bronchitis. Workers are not provided with personal protective equipment, and the quarries don’t follow safety guidelines.

According to the study, the minimum wage for quarry workers per day is Rs 388 in Tamil Nadu and Rs 276 in Uttar Pradesh. But women are paid only Rs 150 to Rs 200. The study goes on to say that these women work in the quarries for eight to nine hours daily, without any safety equipment. They also suffer from anaemia due to the lack of nutritious food.

The study also found that poor and unskilled people from Odisha, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka move to Tamil Nadu. While Uttar Pradesh tends to attract poor migrants from Bihar, Jharkhand and Uttarakhand. These migrant workers are employed at the bottom-end and highly risky tasks, which the locals may not undertake.

These migrant workers are forced to work in these quarries through binding contracts or loans in both Uttar Pradesh and Tamil Nadu. There is no sense of security among the migrants, and they lack awareness about their rights, said the study.

Dr Chinnadurai, the co-author of the study, is quoted in the study saying, “The nature of high mobility in changing of worksites and status of non-local labours were hardly united to fight against or demand their rights. None of the labour organisation is registered in any of the work sites. But there several non-governmental organisation working for the welfare and legal support for the inter-state quarry workers. Awareness creation of the rights and provisions of various laws pertaining to labour under the Constitution of India, making adequate initiatives to implement the protective and welfare measures for the betterment of the working conditions are the need of the hour.”

Aiswarya Sriram

Aiswarya Sriram is a budding multimedia journalist and is currently working for NewsMeter as a "Factcheck Freelancer". A graduate from Indian Institute of Journalism and New Media (IIJNM) Bangalore, Aiswarya has earlier worked with The Logical Indian and has interned with Republic TV. Aiswarya, a Tamilian who was born and brought up in Mumbai, loves to do rural reporting. She has visited Byadgi Taluk of Karnataka, to write about the issues faced by chilli factory workers there, earlier in 2019. A craft enthusiast, Aiswarya also does quilling, painting and glass work. On her off-days, she loves to read crime-thrillers and watch anime. She primarily reports on civic issues, GHMC, human-interesting features, and fact-checking video stories.

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