Officials said the 60 workers flew to Ranch via Delhi.(PTI file photo)
Officials said the 60 workers flew to Ranch via Delhi.(PTI file photo)

Jharkhand govt flies in 60 stranded workers from Ladakh

Officials said the state government sponsored the journey of the workers, who were working on a Border Road Organization project.
Hindustan Times, Ranchi | By Sanjoy Dey
UPDATED ON MAY 30, 2020 05:55 AM IST

The Jharkhand government on Friday flew a second batch of 60 migrant workers stranded in Ladakh to the state. Chief minister Hemant Soren welcomed them with roses and food packets when they arrived at the Ranchi airport.

Officials said the state government sponsored the journey of the workers, who were working on a Border Road Organization project. On Thursday, 174 migrant workers returned to Jharkhand on a charted relief flight from Mumbai. A group of National Law School (Bengaluru) alumni had raised funds for the journey.

A third flight carrying 180 migrant workers from the Andaman and Nicobar Islands will land in Ranchi on Saturday, said state transport secretary K Ravi Kumar. Over 320 migrant workers from Jharkhand are stranded there.

Officials said the 60 workers flew to Ranch via Delhi. “We are happy to return home. We never thought that we will ever make an air journey. I would like to thank the Jharkhand government for making our return possible,” said Rajesh Kisku, a migrant worker from Dumka.

The workers were later sent to Dumka on buses and dinner was also served to them on-board.

Soren urged the Ladakh administration to provide assistance to the migrant workers after they sought his help via social media on May 10 in returning home.

He said his government was committed to bringing back all stranded migrant workers through all possible means including flights, trains, buses, trucks. “As per our commitment, we brought 60 migrant workers... We will fly back another group of migrant workers from the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.”

Soren said he received no response from Union Home minister Amit Shah after he wrote to him seeking permission to airlift the workers from Ladakh and the Andaman and Nicobar Island.

Officials said the Jharkhand government decided to fly back stranded workers when the domestic fights resumed from May 25. They said Jharkhand was the first state, where the first special train carrying around 1,200 stranded workers arrived from Telangana.

Soren said they want all migrant workers to return as soon as possible so that their rehabilitation could be planned.

State disaster management secretary Amitabh Kaushal said over 458,000 people have returned to Jharkhand. “...193 Shramik [special] trains carrying over 257,000 people have arrived so far in the state, while 108,000 workers came by buses. Around 100,000 people have come on individual vehicles, or cycled and walked back,” he said.

Opposition Bharatiya Janata Party spokesman Pratul Shahdeo said the government is duty-bound to bring back the workers. “Instead of making it a media event and a photo opportunity session, they should concentrate more on their rehabilitation.”

Around 200 migrant workers left jobless by the lockdown imposed in late March to check the Covid-19 spread have died in accidents while walking or cycling back home despite the special trains and buses organised for them.

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