In reverse migration, 225 workers from Bihar return to Telangana to work in rice mills
Telangana witnessed a “reverse migration” of labourers from Bihar to Hyderabad on Friday, as thousands of migrant workers belonging to various states who are stranded in Telangana have been mounting pressure on the state government to send them back to their native places.
A special “Shramik Express” brought a group of 225 labourers from Khagaria district in Bihar to Hyderabad on Friday afternoon. These workers are expected to return to work in rice mills across the state.
State civil supplies minister Gangula Kamalakar, Civil Supplies Corporation chairman M Srinivas Reddy, Rytu Bandhu chairman P Rajeshwar Reddy and state nodal officer Sandeep Kumar Sultania received them at Lingampally station and offered them flowers and biscuit packets.
Normally, these workers go to their native villages when the agricultural operations in the state are in full swing and return to Telangana to work in rice mills only after the harvesting season. This time, too, these workers had left for their native places much before the lockdown was enforced but were held up in their states.
Cyberabad police commissioner VC Sajjanar said the migrant workers would work in rice mills in Miryalaguda, Nalgonda, Karimnagar, Jagitial, Peddapalli, Sultanabad, Siddipet, Mancherial and several other places in Telangana. They were sent to their respective destinations in buses arranged by the state road transport corporation.
Masks were provided and physical distance was maintained in the trains and buses.
On the other hand, thousands of migrant labourers from different parts of Bihar, Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh have been demanding that the Telangana government make arrangements for their return to their native places.
Though Telangana chief minister K Chandrasekhar Rao announced that 40 special trains would be engaged everyday to ferry migrant workers to their respective states for one week, it could not keep its commitment as the other state governments had not given approval to accept these workers.
Telangana chief secretary Somesh Kumar said so far, the state government could engage only 13 trains in three days. As per the standard operating protocol of the railways, no trains can be operated to other states to transport workers, unless these states allow them.
“We have written letters to these state governments to allow trains carrying workers from their respective states. Once we get the clearance, we shall ferry the workers,” he said.
Out of 2.61 lakh migrant workers who had registered their names with the police stations in their respective areas, only around 25,000 workers had been sent to their native places. Out of them, nearly 2.49 lakh workers are present within Greater Hyderabad limits.
“I have been going to Gachibowli police station to know about the fate of the special train for the last one week. But the police are sending me back. How long should I wait?” asked Ram Vilas, a construction labourer from Katihar district in Bihar.
For the last two days, hundreds of migrant workers have been thronging the police stations making similar enquiries. “They are not allowing us to go to our native places even on foot, nor are they making any alternative travel arrangements,” lamented Sunil Kumar from Gorakhpur.
The Cyberabad police commissioner said it would take some time for the government to transport so many migrant labourers in view of limited number of trains and lack of consent from their respective state governments.
He pointed out that labour-intensive activities like construction, industries have been started in Telangana. “As all the states are dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic, all the people going there will be put under quarantine after medical examination. So, it is better for them to stay back and take part in the work to earn money,” Sajjannar said.