Desperate migrant workers protest in Bhilwara, demand passage to home
Hundreds of migrant workers, mostly from Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, Sunday morning staged a protest in Bhilwara, once a Covid-19 hotspot in Rajasthan, demanding that authorities arrange for their return to their native places.
The migrant workers protested for over an hour at Pansal crossing in Bhilwara city before they dispersed.
District Collector Rajendra Bhatt said around 500 labourers mostly working in factories gathered demanding arrangements to return home.
“The district administration has registered their names and other details, and will send them home in two-three days,” Bhatt said.
He said the labourers complained that their landlords were demanding rent even as they are not in a position to pay. The factory owners have given them salary till April and now they are on their own. They have made up their mind to return home. All efforts are being made to send them, he added.
The protesters dispersed after the assurance by the district collector.
A district administration official on anonymity said the factory owners have conveyed the government that they have provided salary till April and are not in position to provide further and that the government should look for other ways such as using funds of employee state insurance to pay the workers.
He said in rural areas the factories are working but they are shut in urban areas due to curfew.
The protest happened a day after Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot appealed to migrant workers not to continue to walk and cycle back to their homes. In his appeal, Gehlot had said that the government was making appropriate arrangements to transport the workers to their respective places through buses and trains.
He also directed the officials to make arrangements of food and shelter for the workers who have already left on foot, and ensure that no worker stays hungry and thirsty.