Migrant workers protest in Bilaspur, demand facilities to return home
More than 1,000 migrant workers engaged in construction work of AIIMS being built at Kothipura in Bilaspur district of Himachal Pradesh staged a protest on Saturday against the state government and demanded facilities to return to their hometown and availability of food every day during the lockdown period.
The migrants gathered near the construction site of AIIMs hospital demanded that arrangements be made for their movement to their home states.
Unrest amongst the workers had been brewing for the last two weeks. They said they have been facing hardships due to the lockdown as their source of income has stopped.
On being alerted, personnel from Kothipura police station rushed to the spot. The police officials urged the migrant workers to maintain social distancing and appealed to them not to walk to their home districts as they would be put in quarantine.
The district administration has set up four kiosks at the AIIMs construction site for registration of workers who hailed from West Bengal, Bihar, Chattishgarh, and Jharkhand. The workers refused to continue construction work citing that do not have enough money or ration to feed their families.
The district administration directed the management of the National Builder Construction Company to release the pending wages of migrant workers. There are nearly 1,567 migrant workers who are engaged in the construction work of AIIMS. The company had further given the construction work to the Narguna construction company.
“We have not been paid wages for the last 42 days,” said Ram Kumar, a migrant worker from Bihar. Deputy commissioner Rajeshwar Goel said that the government has directed the company to release their wages and elaborate arrangements are being made to send them back to their hometowns.
The AIIMS hospital will have 750-bed capacity and the construction cost is ₹1200 crore The work on the project started in January last year.
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