BERHAMPUR: Left red-faced over migrant workers returning to their workplaces due to lack of livelihood options, the Ganjam district administration has tightened rules to check the trend. Following a directive from the administration, officials in various blocks of the district are keeping a strict watch on buses that are being used to transport migrant workers back to their workplaces. As per the new norms, migrant workers now need permission from authorities at their workplace and the local administration for return.
After the lockdown, over four lakh migrant workers had returned to their native places in Ganjam from different States. However, many workers have started returning to their places of work in the absence of employment opportunities.
Surprisingly, though the administration has sealed all entry points to the district due to the spike in Covid-19 cases, hundreds of migrants have managed to leave for Surat and Chennai in buses. The returnees are supposed to register themselves in the labor office and apply for their return. But not a single application has been received so far.
On Saturday, two buses, one each from Surat and Andhra Pradesh, reached Belaguntha to bring back the migrant workers. Receiving information, tehsildar Saroj Behera reached the spot and detained the buses. He asked the migrant workers to get down and return to their respective homes as they had not applied for return with the administration. Besides, the buses didn’t have the requisite permission.
However, the migrant workers opposed the tehsildar and said they used to earn around Rs 1,000 per day by working in spinning mills and tile factories. In Ganjam, the work available hardly fetches them Rs 200 in a day. The tehsildar requested the returnees to register their names following which they will be allowed to return to their workplaces. He allowed the buses to return without any migrant workers.
Four days back, a bus from Andhra Pradesh reached Bhanjanagar to pick up 39 workers of Dholapita village. On being informed, Bhanjanagar Sub-Collector Rajendra Minz detained the bus and asked for the letter of approval of the appropriate authorities to transport the returnees. Since the bus didn’t have permission, Minz directed the driver to return without any worker. Sources said despite restrictions by the administration, some migrant workers are leaving for their workplaces clandestinely. The workers now trying to reach Bhubaneswar from where they are taking trains.