Royal Commission on Labour in India: Report(1929)||
So far as recruiting is concerned, we believe that the difficulty of returning from Assam acts as an even more serious handicap than any disabilities on the gardens. In spite of the improvements in communications which have taken place in recent years, Assam is still comparatively inaccessible. It is a long and expensive journey from the chief recruiting grounds to the gardens, and when the labourer has got to Assam, he is generally dependent on his employer for the means to return. In the old days comparatively few returned, and the belief was general that the man who went to Assam had no option but to remain there. More recently there has been increased contact with the recruiting districts. A comparatively new development has been the recruiting of workers for some gardens for fixed terms of a year or nine months or even six months, at the end of which they are repatriated by the employer at his expense. The transporting of immigrants for such short terms is a costly matter, and managers do not, as a rule, resort to short-term recruiting if regular labour is available. We do not recommend, therefore, any general adoption of the practice; but, where it exists, it serves a useful purpose in improving contact with the recruiting areas. It embodies what we regard as essential to place recruiting on a healthy basis and to safeguard adequately the emigrant to Assam, namely, the right to repatriation. We believe that, if the worker went to Assam with a guarantee that he could return, if he so wished, after a reasonable period, many of the difficulties both of employers and workers would disappear.