Centre for Labour Research and Action, India, Social Justice |
Fruit of labour: Migrant workers in the Vineyards of Nashik, Maharashtra
The present study is a description on “Profile and Working – Living conditions of Migrant workers in the Vineyards of Nasik, Maharashtra”. It is based on action research carried out by Centre for Labour Research and Action (CLRA). This study is in continuation of series of action research on cases of an unorganized sector migrant workers. Earlier CLRA has accomplished investigation on migrant workers who are earning livelihood in brick-kilns, construction activity, sugarcane – harvesting and agriculture labour in Saurashtra region.
Grapes are cultivated in an area of 152 thousand hectare with a total production of 3229 thousand tons in mainly Nashik and Sangli districts of Maharashtra state of India and the country earned Rs.2177 crores during the year 2020-21 from export. Likewise the other cases of cash-products in agricultural sector, the prosperity that the vineyards produce bring to the capital and to the state, has never trickled down to migrant workers as the present report starkly indicates. Grape cultivation and its revenue has flourished exponentially over the years because of collective efforts of producers and whole-hearted support from governments. It is labour intensive in nature as technology is not of much use. Migrant work force becomes essential to the vine yards as they are pliable to difficult conditions of work.
The migrant workers are primarily belonging to Nashik district and the Dangs district of neighbouring Gujarat. Tribals form the huge majority of them. Labour have been hired on contract basis and payment is made on the basis of work being done in area of land (hectare). Workers are mostly young and compare to other agriculture work receive higher wages. However, they suffer from physical exhaustion and set of diseases. All in all, even though the working conditions are slightly less oppressive and pathetic than sugarcane harvesters of south Gujarat region for instance, the wages they have been receiving are highly incommensurate and inadequate to their work.