Arresting Distress Migration: Balangir’s Innovative Ideas Promise Good Results

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Balangir: Regarded as one of the most migrant prone districts of India, Odisha’s Balangir is today trying to shed this tag and bring in all round improvement in the lives of people who are most prone to become migrant labourers.

The district administration has taken a number of innovative steps to arrest the menace and it seems the efforts have already started giving results.

In the last few months, under the active involvement of all concerned departments, the district administration has started a multipronged effort to address the problem of distress migration in various blocks. As part of this effort, the administration has actively involved the PRI members, NGOs, villagers and all other stakeholders in its initiative. In Belpada Block, one of the worst affected blocks in the state, the administration has adopted a number of effective strategies that have the potential to reverse the situation. Especially, the district administration’s full throttle engagement of the Jibika Mission has been able to create sustainable livelihood for the target population and has the potential to improve the situation.

With the active participation of NGOs like the Tata Trusts and Aadhikar, the administration has been sensitizing the people and GP functionaries of the block on how to arrest migration and create livelihood opportunities for the vulnerable labor force.

The administration has initiated programs like workshops for sharing of information on distress migration among the PRI Members and NGOs. To effectively send the message to the 125 villages in the Belpada Block, the administration has engaged a Migration Rath that is equipped with a public address system to play awareness songs on migration. The INRM planning exercise has also been conducted at various villages in the Block.

In order to provide livelihood to the vulnerable groups, the administration has utilized MNREGS as an effective tool. Works like renovation of tanks and construction of check dams have been taken up. An example of this is the construction of tank in Buromunda Village of Budamunda GP with an outlay of seven lakh rupees. Along with all these efforts, the district administration has identified 1500 migrant labourers and issued labour cards for availing various social and financial benefits.

All these efforts of the administration have the potential to put a check on the incidences of migration and provide a sustainable method of solving the issues related to migration. Creation of livelihood opportunities will not only stop migration, but also will help in reversing the trend and bringing back migrant workers who are in other states.

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