1.9 lakh migrants workers register to return to home, industry in a fix
As the first train with 1,200 migrants left from Hisar to Katihar in Bihar on Wednesday, at least 1.9 lakh migrant workers in the city registered with the state government for returning to their home states. Some 15 lakh migrant workers in Gurugram are engaged in industry and construction sectors and a large number of workers have already left, or are leaving over 40 days after a nationwide lockdown was announced to check the spread of Covid-19 pandemic.
While the government is making all arrangements for their travel, as per Covid-19 guidelines of the ministry of home affairs (MHA) have been made, the chief minister said “they should not worry about jobs and food” indicating that the government may issue directives towards this end.
Meanwhile officials said there is also worry about restarting the factories.
“We are planning the travel of those migrant workers who have registered. They will be sent as per the MHA guidelines. However, the state government is encouraging these migrants to stay back,” Gurugram deputy commissioner Amit Khatri said.
Officials at the District Development Panchayat Office (DDPO), the nodal authority to register migrants’ details on portal, said that around 40,000 migrants from various states have also applied to return to Gurugram. This is in addition to the 1.90 lakh migrants, who have registered to go back to their home states, registration for which began a week ago.
District development panchayat officer Narender Sarwan said, “Camps have been arranged at village level and people are there to help them in filling forms. Thousands of migrants fill up forms online on a daily basis.”
Indicating that there are jobs, the government said it has resumed these activities to also safeguard the migrant population.
The industries and builders said they find this migrant exit policy contrary to permission received to resuming operations.
Pravin Jain, president of National Real Estate Development Council, Haryana, said, “The government should not promote them to leave for their homes when Covid-19 is peaking. We are here to take care of these workers and they should be encouraged to stay back. The government has allowed construction activities, but we foresee a labour shortage. We have written to the Haryana government citing the migrant exit issue.”
While addressing the state through social media, Haryana chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar said, “We request all workers who are filling up forms to not go home and that they should not worry about food and jobs. They are safe in Haryana, which has much less Covid-19 cases compare to other states.”
The state government said migrants should not worry about room rents and there will be enough job opportunities to explore.
“We called 150 workers to resume work as now we need them to run factories, but many of them did not join as they are more willing to go their homes. We fail to understand what will they do there? They have been living here for years and for them there are lot of opportunities in Gurugram,” Pawan Yadav, president of IMT industrial association, Manesar, said.
Additional chief secretary (home) Vijay Vardhan said that sending migrants back home is a complicated task and government is doing it as per the MHA guidelines and in consultation with receiving states. “Five more trains are ready to leave for Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and other states from Thursday,” Vardhan said.
“In Haryana, maximum migrant workers are from UP and Bihar. The receiving governments said they are getting similar requests from many other states and making the required arrangements is a complicated task,” Vardhan said.