Jagan Reddy orders free food, transport for migrants returning home
Andhra Pradesh chief minister Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy on Sunday ordered officials to ensure that hundreds of migrant labourers returning to their native place on foot in the scorching sun be given food and free transport.
The chief minister, who reviewed the plight of migrant labourers at an official meeting on Sunday, directed that no migrant labourers should be seen walking their way to their native places.
He asked the officials to arrange buses for the migrant labourers from Odisha walking through the state till their state borders, apart from providing them food.
The officials told the chief minister that as many as 902 migrant labourers from Srikakulam, Ongole and other regions had been provided with transport and food arrangements on Saturday.
“In all, 470 migrant labourers from Prakasam were sent in 10 state-run RTC buses, 410 migrants from Krishna in 16 buses and 22 from Srikakulam in one bus to their native places in Odisha,” an official spokesman from the chief minister’s office (CMO) said.
On Sunday, another 450 migrant labourers from Guntur and 52 from Krishna districts had been sent to their native places.
“State chief secretary Nilam Sawhney had detailed discussion with her counterpart in Odisha to ensure that the migrant labourers were received at Ganjam district border,” the spokesman said.
Principal Secretary (Transport, Roads and Buildings) M T Krishna Babu said as per the directions of the chief minister, buses were arranged on various highways to pick up migrant labourers walking through the state and take them to the nearest relief centres.
“All the police check posts are provided with staff from the revenue department to counsel the migrant labour to come to relief centres with a promise to send them to their native states,” he said.
As many as 79 food counters have been organized along the national highways nearer to the inter-state check posts to give them food and water. “Similarly, district collectors were asked to put up banners on highways in Oriya and Hindi explaining the arrangements done for the migrant labour going by walk,” Krishna Babu said.
If the migrant labourers are from various parts of Andhra Pradesh, they would be sent to their native places by buses free of cost. Similarly, those belonging to Odisha also would be ferried up to the state’s borders by buses.
“For those migrant labourers who are from far off states like West Bengal, Bihar, Jharkhand and Uttar Pradesh, the government will make arrangements to send them by Shramik Express trains duly transporting them to the embarkation points free of cost,” the principal secretary said.
In the last three days, around 4,661 migrant labourers walking home were stopped at various check posts and sent to 62 relief centres. Of them, 485 people were walking to various districts of Andhra Pradesh and the remaining migrant workers belonged to other states, including Odisha (966), Bihar (815), UP (1012), Jharkhand (576) and Chattisgarh (331).
“We have already arranged 31 Shramik Express trains from AP transporting 39,000 people to different destinations in the last till date. Another five trains would be run for 7,500 people on Sunday. We have planned to run another 22 special trains during this week for 33,000 people,” Krishna Babu said.
Over the last few weeks, images of migrant workers walking across different parts of India have highlighted the desperation of the marginalised people hit hard by the lockdown.