Unscheduled homecoming for Kendrapara plumbers

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Kendrapara: For 42-year-old Prasant Baidya of far-flung Pitapata village in Kendrapara district and others like him, the scrapping of high-value notes have provided an opportunity for an unscheduled homecoming.

Baidya, a plumber by profession, was earning handsomely in Gujarat’s Surat but had to move back to his native village after cash crunch virtually brought the plumbing activities to a grinding halt.

Like Baidya, hundreds of skilled migrant labourers mostly plumbers from Kendrapara district were forced to return to native places in the aftermath of demonetisation.

“After the note-ban, our employers were left with no cash. Even those who sought for our services deferred their work. The inactivity continued for a week. So instead of idling away the time, I moved back to village on November 17 to spend time with the family”, he said.

“I had Rs 1,700 in my purse of which there were three scrapped Rs 500 notes. However, I faced no difficulty in exchanging it during journey,” he recalled.

The fellow-workers who stayed back in Surat told him the situation is yet to improve fully and when he called up the employers to resume work they asked him to wait for a week for normalcy to restore, Baidya said.

Also read: Man hacked to death in Kendrapara

“However, though they have also committed to pay methe salary on no-work period, I do not know whether they will pay me or not. Now I am jobless,” he said.

Baidya, who turned to old profession of inland fishing, used to earn Rs 20,000 every month as a plumber, besides free one-room accommodation and free lunch.

Another plumber from Gupti village under Rajnagar Tehsil, Shankarshan Behera has been rendered jobless following the note ban.

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