AU professor to study reverse migration of tribal migrant labour

‘It will help in giving them a sustainable living in their native areas’

Senior Professor from the Anthropology Department, Andhra University, P.D. Satyapal, will study the reverse migration of tribal migrant labour, post onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“After March 25, 2020, when the nation-wide lockdown was declared to break the chain of spread of the virus, we have seen a huge return flow of migrants, who were desperate to return to their native homes. Among the migrants, was a sizeable population of tribals, especially from the forested areas of Visakhapatnam, Viziangaram, Srikakulam and East and West Godavari districts,” said Prof. Satyapal.

The Ministry of Tribal Affairs, along with its counterpart in the State government, has decided to study the pattern of reverse migration of tribals, their present status and what can be done to give them a sustainable living in their native areas.

According to Prof. Satyapal, most of the tribal labourers, including many from primitive tribes and PVTG (particularly vulnerable tribal groups) such as the Bondos, Pengus and Konda Doras, have been working in the plain areas, especially in the construction sector and hazardous industries.

“Many of these people have gone back to their roots and as per the project outlines, we will be visiting all the tribal villages located under the nine ITDAs in the State,” he said.

Apart from enumeration, which will also act as a tribal census, the survey will also deal with the types of tribes inhabiting each village, their lifestyle and culture.

This will also help a few tribes such as Didoyis who inhabit the Rangabayalu area and Pengus in Laxmipuram in Visakha Agency, and Parangis, get their much delayed recognition, as scheduled tribes. “This issue has been pending since Independence,” he said.

The study would also include, why the tribes, who are normally rooted to nature and their surroundings had migrated. This will give a clear understanding whether it was a ‘Distress migration’, which indicates that the system has failed to give them the environment for sustainable living, said Prof. Satyapal.

The impact of technology on migrants and cultural erosion if any due to migration, will also be studied. The study would also aid to comprehend subtle issues such as human trafficking, he said.

This is a prestigious project for the AU and Prof. Satyapal was picked for his expertise on tribal anthropology.

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