Every morning, hundreds of labour workers, from across Bihar, deboard a train at this railway line passing through the city of Patna. If there are 400 workers on a given day, only 50 or 60 of them get work.
Since the coronavirus-induced lockdown, which has now been lifted in many parts of the country, the labour economy hasn’t revived and workers are unemployed.
In Bihar, almost 46.6% of the population is unemployed. Those who are unable to receive university-level education, given the poor quality of it in Bihar, find it even more difficult to get jobs. Some who can migrate to other states have it better but those who can’t, migrate internally to Patna in search of daily-wage work.
Workers say that while they used to get work before the lockdown, they were never given government-mandated minimum wages for their labour.
This despite a minimum-wage guarantee board stuck on one of the pillars of a flyover next to the tracks. Workers blamed systemic corruption in Bihar for the rot in their lives.