Academic journal article Madhya Pradesh Journal of Social Sciences

Effect of Seasonal Migration on Lives of Women and Children in Chhattisgarh

Academic journal article Madhya Pradesh Journal of Social Sciences

Effect of Seasonal Migration on Lives of Women and Children in Chhattisgarh

Article excerpt

History of Seasonal Migration in Chhattisgarh

Chhattisgarh is tribal dominated State with 32.46 per cent of tribes in total population of 2.08 crores (Census 2001). There are 42 different types of tribes in the State. The main tribes in the State are Gond (55%), Kanwar (12%), Halwa (5%), Bhatra (5%) Oraon (2%) and others (24%). The history of tribals is full of events of exploitation, subjugation and marginalisation. The rich natural resources and cheap labour in the state have helped outsider entrepreneurs/ businessmen to flourish but that development process has entirely ignored the development and welfare of tribals. Chhattisgarh is known as 'Rice Bowl of India' because of its fertile land for paddy cultivation. But frequent drought and lack of irrigation facilities have left rural community stranded. Due to the lack of irrigation facilities, they are forced to depend on single crop which is also being affected due to frequent droughts in the area. This forces rural people to migrate to different parts of the country to work as 'wage labour' in brick kilns and construction sites for their sustenance. The uncertainty of agriculture compels cultivators and agriculture labourers of Raipur, Bilaspur and Durg to migrate every year to work in brick kilns and building construction and return in the cropping season. This phenomena has emerged as seasonal process in the state. Historically, migration of labourers from Chhattisgarh started in view of severe drought and famine in the beginning of the 20th Century. There is a section of society which strongly feels that migration of labour from Chhattisgarh is not a compulsion but their habit. Even if they are provided with all facilities, they would not stay there because they enjoy earning with outing. Another section feels that the seasonal migration can be stopped through development programmes which can provide employment throughout the year. On the other hand, majority of migrant labourers feel that proper irrigation facilities facilitating multi-cropping in the area could be the only solution to stop seasonal migration.

The first documented record of mass labour migration from Bilaspur can be traced hundred years back when this area was confronted with severe drought and famine condition during 1899 to 1902. During this period, British Government was recruiting labourers for Assam Tea gardens. For the purpose, a recruitment centre was also opened in Bilaspur through which about 10,000 people migrated from this area to work in Tea Gardens in Assam (Sen, 1995). Further the process intensified and more and more people of the area migrated to Assam Tea Gardens, Bengal Jute Mills and Bihar Coal Mines.

The migration of Chhattisgarh labour after Independence is continuing uninterrupted. People from the rural areas of Raipur, Bilaspur, Durg, Sarguja etc. migrate after paddy cropping to earn their livelihood in brick kilns and building construction sites in different parts of the country. But it is not possible to collect the accurate information on quantum and places of migration because there is no way to record the movement from different parts of Chhattisgarh in to different directions of the country.

Rationale, Objectives and Area of the Study

Migrant families especially women and children face several problems like problem of housing and shelter, education of children, occupation, health and other adjustment problems arising due to change in cultural settings. The transition from a familiar to an unfamiliar environment may have several consequences of sociopsychological nature and the migrants are thus likely to develop the feeling of insecurity. In such cases children and women continue to be the greater victims of layoffs and displacement. The children are deprived of any sort of education, formal or non-formal. Both women and children are exposed to violence and sexual abuse. The migrated population is largely engaged in brick making, construction labour etc. …

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