India’s leading apparel manufacturing hub Tirupur has illegal foreign workers.
As per media reports, more than 20 Bangladeshi nationals who sneaked into India through West Bengal were arrested in the textile town of Tirupur over the past three months.
Surprisingly, some of them had fake Aadhaar cards, while others didn’t even bother to get documents, but still managed to land jobs in various apparel manufacturing units.
No doubt, Bangladesh’s apparel manufacturing industry has more opportunities compared to India, but comparatively high pay in Tirupur attracts Bangladeshi workers. A worker is able to earn almost double in India compared to Bangladesh.
The media report quoted a factory owner, “If one person manages to reach Tirupur and get a job, within the next one year he would try to bring his friends and relatives. They speak Hindi and Bengali and blend in with other guest workers living in rented accommodations. Police said there were instances where they would travel to Bangladesh, meet their family and return to Tirupur. When they produce Aadhaar cards, we don’t probe further. With an acute labour shortage, the garment units would only focus on getting work done.”
It is being said that some of the Bangladeshis would have experience back home and would become tailors or cutting masters, while those without experience would start from packing and slowly learn skilled work.
MP Muthurathinam, President, Tirupur Exporters and Manufacturers Association, says that it’s time that a mechanism is evolved to keep a tab on guest workers. “Right now, there is no system of registry. They come here, stay in places of their choice. Some move to other cities like Coimbatore, Erode or Karur. So a state-wide registry of guest workers has to be prepared. “They should be given an identity card by the State Government,” he said.
The local police launched a project to collect details of all guest workers and create a database back in 2018, but the pandemic and manpower shortage left it a nonstarter. As per a police official, as Covid is now down, police will resume the work to collect the details of guest workers.