Battleground Telangana : Chronicle of an agitation జూన్ 12, 2011Posted by M Bharath Bhushan in agitation, Culture, Economy, Hyderabad, Identity, Karimnagar, livelihoods, Mahabubnagar, Medak, Mulki, Palamur, politics, regionalism, Review, Telangana.
Tags: cyberabad, Kingshuk Nag, migration, poverty
Nomads near Cyberabad
Medak, a district that borders Greater Hyderabad, is a telling example of the poor economic development in Telangana, writes Kingshuk Nag in ‘Battleground Telangana: Chronicle of an agitation’ (www.harpercollins.co.in).
On the roads of Medak, not more than an hour and a half from Hyderabad, it is possible to run into nomads travelling on bullock carts with all their belongings, describes Nag. “These people have no home and hearth and move from place to place within the district in search of jobs. Many others, who have some place to live, migrate seasonally in the months of summer not only in search of jobs but also looking for sources of drinking water.”
Also, from the neighbouring district of Mahbubnagar, people migrate in lakhs to Mumbai and north India, in search of jobs in road construction and so on, reports the author, in a chapter titled, ‘The state of the economy’. He notes that the migration is so large that the labourers have built their own brand identity. “They are called Palamoor labour (after Palamoor, the old name for Mahbubnagar district) and contractors round them up and transport them to distant places.”
Nag cites a quote of Gautam Pingle, don at the Administrative Staff College of India, thus: “It is ironic that people from here go for employment hundreds of kilometres away although the Krishna cuts through the district and the Tungabhadhra flows on its southern edges.” Distressing it would be to read that in the tribal pockets of Mahbubnagar, people have to walk for two kilometres for water which may be accessed from a small well or water hole. Nag bemoans that districts so close to Hyderabad and its showcase Cyberabad, which boasts of investments from multinationals, wallow in poverty in the way Medak and Mahbubnagar do.
Another example of migration mentioned in the chapter is of Karimnagar, one of the most developed districts in Telangana, which witnesses hordes of people flying out to the Gulf in search of opportunities. Nag informs that much of this traffic is illegal and depends on forged documents; and that many of those who go have to come back without realising any return on the huge investment they made by paying agents who had promised them El Dorado.
He narrates that, in 2005, when India was not allowing any of its citizens to go to war-ravaged Iraq, a large number of people from Karimnagar were landing up in that country. “Most of them worked as dhobis, scavengers, construction workers, cooks and drivers to the US forces and for a few dollars were willing to brave minefields, bullets, and bomb attacks. Many of those who go to the Gulf have to come back and fall in a debt trap unable to pay the interest on the loan they take to finance their overseas trip.”
A book that can sensitise you to a topical issue