Bhubaneswar: With several states imposing strict restrictions like lockdown and shutdown amid alarming rise in Covid-19 cases, migrant labourers from Odisha started their return journey to the States.
Large number of migrant workers were seen entering the State from West Bengal through Laxmannath Check Gate while labourers working in Chhattisgarh take Malkangiri’s Motu and Umerkote’s Dandesera route to return to the State by hiring vehicles or by walking.
Checking has been stepped up in border areas and labourers are allowed entry into the State after showing Covid-19 negative report and other documents.
Jitendra Rout, migrant said, “During our journey police personnel inquire where we are coming from and where heading to. Therefore, I am carrying a Covid-19 negative report with me.”
However, there are reports that some labourers are illegally entering the State. Today, the motor vehicle inspector of Balasore imposed Rs 92,000 fine on three buses from West Bengal for entering Odisha even after suspension of the inter-state bus services.
On the other hand, the Odisha government has started arrangements to cope up with the returnees.
Labour Minister Susanta Singh though about 9 lakh migrants had returned to Odisha last year during lockdown, the number may go down this year.
“Migrant workers returning to the State are asked to stay in home isolation. We are setting up quarantine centre in zilla parishad zone. If more number of migrant workers return, the government will extend the facilities to panchayat level,” he added.
Last year, migrants had to face severe difficulties as they lost their livelihood due to closure of industries during lockdown. Due to lack of transport facilities, they had to walk miles to reach their homes
However, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said such situation has not arisen yet this year and urged migrants to stay where they are.
“I request the migrant workers to remain where they are, you will soon be vaccinated. Last time we did not have the required medical infrastructure, now we do,” the PM had said in his address recently.