West Bengal and Maharashtra governments start plan for movement of intra-state labourers

Even the Centre has set measures for migrants who want to return to their places of work in the state

Covid19Image Courtesy:auto.economictimes

In a significant move, the Bengal government has given a nod to allow labourers from Bengal stranded in different parts of the state due to the lockdown to return given that they allow to be quarantined for two weeks on their return, The Telegraph reported.

During a video conference with district authorities, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said, “We have decided to allow migratory labourers within the state to go back home. The process has already started. When they will be allowed to return, they would have to go for home quarantine for a few days. The families of the labourers will be under the health department’s monitoring.”

Sources in the government said that thousands of labourers, mostly agricultural labourers had left their homes in mid-February for potato and mustard harvesting elsewhere in the state.

A senior government official said, “But they could not go back home following the announcement of the lockdown in the last week of March. They are in a real trouble as they don’t have shelter and enough cash in hand. So, the state government has decided to send them back to their homes.”

The labourers will go through a health screening as soon as they’re brought back home under strict surveillance using vehicles arranged by the police. The official also said, “If anyone is required to be taken to government quarantine centers, he or she would be shifted there immediately. Others would have to go for mandatory home quarantine for two weeks.”

Prior to this, the Maharashtra government allowed over one lakh migrant sugarcane workers to return to their native places, reported The Hindu. The guidelines issued by Chief Secretary Ajoy Mehta stated that 1.31 lakh migrant labourers and their families, working in 38 sugar factories who were houses in shelters due to the lockdown, the government was rethinking its strategy and chalking out an intra-state evacuation plan seeing the plea of the migrants.

As per Friday’s directive, the managing directors of the sugar mills will list the native village, tehsil and district of the labourers and their families living in the shelter for more than 14 days. “They will have to undergo a medical check-up and the list sent to the collector of their present residence and to the collector of the native district,” it said.

The Central government too issued an order allowing migrant labourers in shelter homes to resume work in the same state after undergoing screening and being tested free for the virus. The Ministry of Home Affairs said that skill mapping would be carried out and that these labourers could be transported to their place of work by local authorities, but disallowed any movement of labourers outside the state. It also added that social distancing norms must be maintained while transporting and the authorities must provide them food and water during the journey, apart from ensuring that the buses are sanitized according to the norms specified by health authorities.


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