Migrant workers
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"Those were scary days. I had left Gujarat for my safety. However, company officials have reassured me, that's why I have returned to Gujarat.
"Those were scary days. I had left Gujarat for my safety. However, company officials have reassured me, that's why I have returned to Gujarat.
I feel safe now," says Manishkumar Giri, a 30-year-old worker at Ahmedabad's Nexus Infratech Pvt Ltd. He adds that most of his associates have also returned, and those remaining will be back in a few days.
 
Manish hails from Narayanpur Mathia village near Ara city in Bihar. He was one of 70,000 odd workers from the region who fled Gujarat following attacks on migrant workers in early October.
 
Changodar, where Manish worked for Nexus Infratech, witnessed attacks on about half a dozen workers two months ago, allegedly by members of Thakor Sena.
 
This built an environment of fear in the industrial cluster. "Now the situation is near normal," says Pathik Patwari, director of Nexus Infratech, "because of prompt actions taken by local business leaders and the state government."
 
Industry representatives say there have been no complaints about lack of workers which affected industrial work.
 
"We don't have statistics on how many workers fled and how many returned. However, no one has complained that work has suffered due to lack of workers," says Shailesh Patel, secretary of Santej Industries Association.
 
Santej, on the outskirts of Ahmedabad, has close to 1,200 industrial units in the plastic, engineering and pharmaceutical sector. While no worker was assaulted here, attacks in other clusters created panic, resulting in the exodus.
 
Industrial clusters of Chhatral, Moraiya, Bavla, Sanand, Vatva, Santej, Naroda, Odhav and Mehsana were the hardest hit. Close to 14,000 workers left from Sanand alone.
 
Shyamsingh Thakur, president of Uttar Bharatiya Vikas Parishad, estimates that over 70 per cent of the workers have returned. Moreover, there are is also a significant number of fresh workers from the Hindi belt, he says. He attributes the return to prompt action by the government and industry alike, which prevented further attacks.