BHUBANESWAR: People from neighbouring states dominate city realty market's workforce even as workers from Odisha continue to migrate to outside the state in search of work.
While masons from Jharkhand and Bihar rule the state capital's construction works, carpenters are mainly from West Bengal. Those from Andhra Pradesh have a substantial presence in all categories while plumbing work is the forte of local people.
C S Sharma, a labour contractor from Jharkhand who operates from the city, said construction workers from outside Odisha outnumber the locals in Bhubaneswar. "Outside state workers tend to work continuously for months without taking breaks while local people take too many leaves. That is why it is easier to meet deadline with outsiders," said Sharma who currently has around 500 workers under him here, mostly from Jharkhand. Similarly, when Odia workers go for work outside Odisha they work without leave for long, he added.
The industry knows who is good at what. In various components of the semi-skilled works, people from different areas have expertise. "Masons from Bihar and Jharkhand are good at finishing work while there is no match to local plumbers, mainly from Kendrapada and Jajpur districts. Workers from Bengal are good in painting work and carpentry," said Manoj Chandrabanshi, another labour contractor.
Real estate developers said big projects prefer mix of workers. "If one employs workers say only from Odisha, none will be left to work during a festival like Raja. Similarly, those from West Bengal prefer to go home during Durga puja. If the workforce is mixed, work will not suffer," said D S Tripathy, state president of confederation of real estate developers of India (Credai).
Besides hundreds of housing projects by private builders, big-ticket government projects such as All India Institute of Medical Sciences, National Institute of Science Education and Research, Indian Institute of Technology are under construction in city these days. Besides, work for around dozen flyovers and expansion of National Highways are under way here employing a huge workforce.
According to 2001 Census, 16 lakh Odia were listed as seasonal migrants to other states. The cities attracting maximum migration from the state included Kolkata, Surat, Hyderabad, Visakhapatnam, Raipur, Coimbatore, Delhi, Chennai and Bangalore. While thousands of people from Odisha migrate to Nalgonda, Guntur and Vizag, among other areas of Andhra Pradesh to work in brick kilns and as farm labourers, migration from Andhra is also substantial. The 2011 census report on migration is still awaited.