The main town of Shopian in south Kashmir is again abuzz in early hours after remaining deserted for over a month in the wake of revocation of special status to Jammu and Kashmir State on August 5. Courtesy: return of non-local labourer’s.According to wire service Kashmir News Observer (KNO), hundreds of labors mostly from mainland Bihar, West Bengal and Uttar Pradesh- popularly known as ‘non local labourer’s here, have returned again in restive Shopian town in search of manual jobs.
“Despite prevailing situation since the day Union Home Minister announced revocation of special status to Jammu and Kashmir State, we would have not left Kashmir, but government order compelled us to leave,” Ram Krishan, popularly known as Babu, told wire service KNO.Fully confident about his safety in prevailing situation in Kashmir, he said no one has harmed them even in strikes. “In the past few years, several times we have to cross the militant funerals to reach our rented accommodations’ after day’s work and nobody in the crowd harmed us,” Babu told KNO, amid a gentle smile.Flanked by others, he said they decided to return Kashmir after knowing the ground realities about people here. “We have been working here for decades; our families are depended on our earnings from here and they (our families) know it well that we won’t be harmed,” he said.On an average an unskilled non local laborer earns from Rs 500 to Rs 800 depending about the nature of the job. While those running shops like Tea shops, saloons or any other earns Rs 1000 plus every day on an average in the area.As per KNO, unofficial figures suggest more than 20, 000 non-state workers both skilled and unskilled earn their living in the 260 plus villages of Shopian district. The work force has entered almost in every sector, making a major chunk of population dependent on them.In Shopian, these people have an important role in new constructions from plinth to rooftop and from outer works to interior designing. They also work as laborers in horticulture sector from Incising of apple trees to carrying fruit boxes (KNO).