Bengaluru: Labourers hit hard by flooding in Madikeri

Bengaluru: Severe flooding and a landslide has rendered thousands of migrant labourers in Madikeri with no place to go. The aftermath of the Madikeri flood, which ravaged the coffee and tea estates in the area, has left these labourers without jobs and homes. Scattered across Madikeri they usually hail from places like West Bengal, other North Eastern states and parts of North India. Now, they’re looking towards Bengaluru, Mysuru and other parts of Karnatata, Tamil Nadu and Kerala to find work .

Krishna Lal, a labourer from Midnapore in West Bengal, works in a timber yard in the city and says he has made job arrangements for relatives in Madikeri. Around eight of his cousins work in the area, he says. “I tried to contact them during the floods but could not do so. I was worried for t heir safety.” On Wednesday, however, they managed to call Krishna, assuring them that they were safe even if their jobs were not. “After watching the news reports I realised that things will take some time to return to normal, so I asked them to come to Bengaluru where I can help them out.”

Krishna consulted his boss, the owner of the timber yard and explained the situation to him. “He has agreed to give them a job,” he says. “I want my cousins to come here. They cannot go back home because there is no work there either. Moreover, their safety is more important and now, I will be working with them.”

Mohammed Shafi, who moved from Assam to Madikeri with his wife and children three years ago, is also contemplating his departure. This time, it’s Hyderabad, where his relatives have found him employment. “Madikeri was my second home and now, my estate owner has asked me to find another job for the estate has been completely damaged.”Without a house in Madikeri, he says, “I leave for Hyderabad with a heavy heart. I have to continue working to keep the family running. But I have promised my owner that I will return to work for him.”

Lalkumpwang Gurung from Manipur has decided to stay back with his owner and help him restore the estate. He said, “ I will not go anywhere because I know how it feels when you lose your livelihood. The estate is damaged and now I will stay back to restore it and not bother about how much I get paid.”

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