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Delhi govt forms teams to identify migrant workers who want to return home

The state government has formed multiple teams across Delhi’s 11 districts to identify migrant workers who want to return to their home towns or villages due to the ongoing lockdown in order to make necessary arrangements for their travel, a senior Delhi government official said
By Risha Chitlangia, New Delhi
PUBLISHED ON MAY 18, 2021 10:44 PM IST

The state government has formed multiple teams across Delhi’s 11 districts to identify migrant workers who want to return to their home towns or villages due to the ongoing lockdown in order to make necessary arrangements for their travel, a senior Delhi government official said.

The move comes after the Supreme Court on Thursday directed the Centre and the governments of Delhi, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh to provide dry ration and meals to labourers in the National Capital Region (NCR), as well as to ensure they have transportation if they wish to return home. The Delhi government has, to this effect, now directed districts to compile a list of workers who wish to go back home.

“Each team comprises a revenue official, labour inspector and a police official. We have formed three to four teams in each district. The teams are visiting spots like construction sites to speak to migrant workers. We are asking people to register if they want to return home,” said a senior revenue department official aware of the matter .

In south-west Delhi, officials are surveying all construction sites and clusters where a large population of migrant workers is present. “The labour department is telling us where the surveys should be conducted. So far, we have not come across anyone who wants to return home. Those who wanted to leave have already gone, since the railways and buses were operational during this lockdown,” said a senior revenue official.

With the lockdown in Delhi gradually being extended, this time till May 24, migrant workers said they fear that the curbs may continue for a while.

“Some people we met at the construction site didn’t want to go immediately but they said they might leave if the curbs are extended for a longer period,” said an official.

Apart from the survey, the teams are also telling migrant workers about hunger relief centres made in each district to provide food to people.

In East Delhi district too, officials said none of the workers they have spoken to said they want to return. “Our teams are going to construction sites, pockets where migrant labourers are staying. So far, no one has come forward. We will continue this exercise till the time lockdown is in place,” said a senior official.

Officials managing the government’s helpline for migrant workers, which was made operational last year, said the number of calls increased after the Delhi lockdown was announced on April 19. “But a majority of callers are asking about financial assistance, renewal of their membership [for the construction workers board], and for such things,” said a helpline operator.

The Delhi government has also asked those who have employed migrant workers in the past year to register with the labour department.

“Every inter-state migrant worker will be issued a passbook by the contractor, which shall have details of employment and shall be provided other benefits as provided in the Inter-state Migrant Workmen (regulation of employment and condition of service) Act, 1979,” read the public notice.

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