Migrant workers trying to go back to home towns as Covid surges in Tamil Nadu

Chennai, Apr 20 (IANS): The migrant workers in different parts of Tamil Nadu are making a beeline to the major railway stations trying to head back towards their home towns fearing a repeat of the 2020 lockdown. With fresh cases touching 50,000 numbers in the last ten days, the migrant workers are worried a lot.

Tamil Nadu has more than 20 lakh migrant workers spread across various industries in the state including the garment capital, Tiruppur and the industrial capital, Coimbatore.

Bejoy Sahoo, a migrant worker from Kalahandi in Odisha while speaking to IANS said, "We are working as labourers in Tiruppur garment unit and we fear an imminent lockdown. I want to somehow get back to my home as we are fearing that there won't be food or accommodation to us once the lockdown is implemented."

While the Tiruppur district administration conducted several awareness programmes among the migrant workers in association with the Tirupur garment manufacturers and other trade bodies, the migrant workers are not much convinced.

S.K. Murdassar, an Aari worker from Bardhwan in West Bengal who is employed in a garment factory at Tirupur while speaking to IANS said, "Of course our factory owner and other concerned people including government officials of Tiruppur have assured us that there is nothing to fear and that the possibility of a lockdown is less, we are not convinced. We want to go back to our home town, even if its poverty we want to be with our family in West Bengal."

The state health authorities are trying to make each and every effort to prevent the exodus of migrant workers from the state as this would give a wrong message to the outside world.

In Sivakasi firecracker units also there are several migrant workers and if these workers return back to their home towns, the units will be shut down.

Muruganandam, owner of a medium firecracker unit in Sivakasi while speaking to IANS, said, "We have thousands of migrant workers spread across our units and these people are mostly from Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh and we are worried as they are trying to go back to their homes. We have already promised them all the facilities even if the government takes extreme measures like lockdowns but we are not able to convince them."

The migrant workers are also worried that they were treated badly during the 2020 lockdown and that they had to use their own efforts to get back to their hometowns.

Ullas Kumar, a migrant worker from Bihar while speaking to IANS, said, " I have already booked my ticket to go back to Patna and I know that once the lockdown comes this will not be the face of the administration. Last year Tamil Nadu police treated us like dogs and I have a family to cater to and I am going by tomorrow to Patna."

With the cases mounting up and the government announcing measures, the migrant workers feel that this is a prelude to lockdown and that this would cause huge misery to them.


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