NEW: 'My Name Was Removed From MGNREGS Muster Roll'
Q. Have you ever migrated from here? If yes, why did you choose that city or town?
Construction Worker: Yes, I have worked in Delhi, Bengal, and Haryana. Some of my acquaintances used to work in those cities. I only migrate to places where I have contacts.
I had gone to work in Haryana through an agent, where I worked for many years. The company used to give us work on his recommendation and the agent used to get commission from my salary. I prefer to migrate to places where there is a high chance of getting work.
Q. Do your children migrate with you? If yes, do they attend school at the destination and are there any problems in seeking school admission?
Construction Worker: Yes, I tried taking my family with me. I never sent my children to government school, but got them admitted to private schools for some time. It was becoming very difficult to maintain the family there, so within a few days I had them shifted back to the village.
I was always worried about their security while they lived with me. Unfortunate events have taken place in the past while I was out for work. It is better for them to stay here in our village; there is little to worry about in terms of security, and women also get work nearby since we know the village and its people. Ration is also available from the Public Distribution System (PDS).
Q. Have you tried to avail benefits of the Public Distribution System (PDS) at your workplace by using One Nation One Ration Card (ONORC) scheme?
Construction Worker: Yes, but we were denied ration; I was told that I will have to get a ration card for that state. So, we started buying rations from the retail shop instead.
Q. Are you registered with the Building and Other Construction Workers (BOCW) Welfare Board?
Construction Worker: Yes, I am registered with a BOCW in Vaishali. I received an amount of ₹3,000 only once but nothing after that. I have been told that this amount will not be disbursed now; I don't know much about it. I work by migrating between city and village, and lack information about all of this. No one has ever told me what I am supposed to get from BOCW.
Also, labour cards were made in Bihar specially during the COVID-19 time. Some people were given work on the basis of their skills, but at present I have no idea about their whereabouts.
Q. Have you ever worked under MGNREGS? If yes, for how many days in a year, when, and why did you leave that work?
Construction Worker: No, once my name was added, but the very next year it was removed.
Under MGNREGS, I received ₹3,500 in my account; a person told me to withdraw the amount and pay him ₹1,500 out of it. I did not do this due to which my name has been removed.
Q. Did you get any grant or money during the COVID-19 lockdown?
Construction Worker: No, I didn't get anything. Many people in the village received money. Even though I tried, I got no information about why my money was not given to us. We received free food grains though.
This interview was conducted with a Construction Worker in Bihar in Hindi on 5 October 2022, and has been translated.
Image Credits: Image by Swastik Arora from Pixabay