Jeddah: Massive migration into Gulf countries from many tiny and remote villages of Telangana has significantly improved the socio-economic status of the rural economy. The circular nature of the Gulf migrants has significantly influenced the class structure, social hierarchy in the villages.
Manala, a remote village in Rudrangi Mandal in Rajanna-Sircilla district bordering with Nizamabad district is one of such village in Telangana where Gulf migration has changed the village in every aspect. The village was lacking basic infrastructure and was not even easily accessible by road either. Manala and surrounding tribal hamlets, known as a Naxalite bastion in the past has now become Gulf NRI villages.
The very mention of Manala used to send shivers down the spines of officials and the elected leaders as it was the hub for erstwhile People’s War Group. The village witnessed bloodbath when 11 Naxalites were killed in an alleged encounter with the police in 2005. Manala is also known as the only village where a 40-foot-tall martyrs’ memorial for women Naxalites was constructed.
However, the gulf migration in last two decades has changed the scenario altogether. It is one of the top villages in Telangana to receive petrodollar remittances from Gulf countries. The Backward sections, SC and STs have the highest share in gulf remittance as each household of these sections has at least one NRI in the gulf.
A national bank branch in Rudrangi is widely considered as one of top bank in the State in terms of inflow of foreign remittance. In that bank, the lion share of accounts belongs to Manala village NRIs, as the village has no bank.
Some of the semi-literate youth earns over 6 lakh rupees per month, unlike their compatriots from other parts of Telangana. NRIs from Manala are mostly skilled workers, who are well prepared for technical and skilled jobs in Gulf region. Most of the youth from the village were employed in lucrative oil fields as riggers and other skilled jobs in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
The close-knit village circle has been helpful for youth to land in a better position than others. In fact, many of the villagers who are employed in oil fields were imparted with crucial techniques of the job to newcomers to boost their employment prospects.
Over 300 villagers were engaged in oil projects belonging to Saudi Aramco, the world’s largest oil company in terms of crude production and exports. When I have joined in as oil rigger some 16 years ago, it was something unique, said Laxminarsaiah Laxman of the village.
However, fall in oil prices and a slowdown in the economy in Gulf has been slowly impacting earning of villagers in the gulf. The village NRIs from Saudi and UAE has generously donated the amount to the renovation of iconic Sivarati Sambulingeshwara Swamy Temple and other community activities in the village. The NRIs of the village has only regretted that BSNL cellular tower is often malfunctioning, facing hardships in terms of communicating with their loved ones.