An online workshop on ‘Explore Issues and Solutions for Solving Housing Challenges of Migrant Workers in Kochi, Kerala’ was organized as part of Rapid Response Policy Engagement project on March 16, 2021 as part of the comprehensive planning of the recommendations received from the stakeholder workshop held on March 5, 2021.
Hon’ble Mayor Adv. M Anilkumar presented the city’s vision and action plan related to the living conditions of various migrant workers in Kochi. Kerala State Planning Board member Dr. Ravi Raman spoke on issues including policy formulation to be adopted by local governments in this regard. Many experts in this field also participated in the discussion. Presentations were done by the experts in the field, Smt. Banasree Banerjee, Smt. Uma Adusmiley, Smt. Renu Desai, Dr.Binoy Peter, Dr.Angelique Chettiparambil and Mr. Rushil Palavajjhala regarding different models in India and around the world. Experts from inside and outside Kerala analysed and spoke on these models. The online workshop was coordinated by C-HED with the support of CMID and University of Reading, UK.
The city of Kochi is an important place of employment for migrant workers in Kerala. Workers from Tamil Nadu have been living and working in the city for decades. In addition, workers from Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, West Bengal, Bihar, Odisha, Uttar Pradesh and many more can be found in the city today.
The migrant workers in any urban centre are often forced to live in unhygienic and unsafe conditions. The case to some extent in Kochi is the same. They are often denied the access to safe and fair accommodation in the city. At the Kaloor bus stand, under the metro line and in the suburbs, we can often see many elderly people and women among those who end up on the roadside. In this regard, Kochi Municipal Corporation has decided to prepare and implement a comprehensive plan to address the housing crisis of migrant workers in the city, with the aim of ensuring that no one is left behind or homeless has introduced ‘Rapid Response Policy Engagement – Affordable Rental Housing for Internal Migrant’ project in its annual Budget for the year 2021-22. The aim is to engage with relevant stakeholders to collectively devise a policy for ensuring access to affordable rental housing for internal migrants in Kochi. The project is being spearheaded by the Kochi Municipal Corporation with the technical support of the University of Reading, United Kingdom and coordinated by the Centre for Heritage, Environment and Development in association with the Centre for Migration and Inclusive Development (CMID).
In this regard, the first Stakeholder Consultation Workshop for the project was held on March 5, 2021 under the aegis of the Hon’ble Mayor, in the presence of the Chairs of various Standing Committees of the Kochi Municipal Corporation. Representatives from Labour Department, National Health Mission, Department of Town and Country Planning, GCDA, Kerala State Housing Board and GIZ attended the workshop.