Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami on Saturday urged migrant workers in the state to not walk back to their homes as the state government was arranging trains for them. Action is being taken in consultation with other states to send back around 10,000 migrant workers daily from Tamil Nadu, said Chief Minister added.
According to him, 55,473 migrant workers have returned to different states, like Bihar, Odisha, Jharkhand, Andhra Pradesh and West Bengal, in 43 trains between May 6 and May 15 from Tamil Nadu.
Edappadi K Palaniswami said the TN government was bearing the entire expenditure — of train fare and food — and requested the migrant workers not to try to return their home states on foot and by other means.
"With their employers neglecting them and not paying wages and amid a transport shutdown, the workers are left with no other option," R Geetha, Additional Secretary, the Nirman Mazdoor Panchayat Mazdoor Sangam, told IANS. She said the workers were staying in tin sheds and in summer it was extremely difficult to stay there.
Geetha added the state government had provided 15 kg rice, 1 kg oil and pulses but they had no money to buy vegetables. "After reaching the point of no return, they started to return to their home states," she added.
The Madras High Court on Friday sought a report from the Tamil Nadu government and the Union government on the action taken with regard to the migrant workers stranded in the state due to lockdown. “One cannot control his/her tears after seeing the pathetic condition of migrant labourers shown in the media for the past one month,” the Court observed.
In the report that will have to be submitted on May 22, the state and the Centre will have to answer questions on the data maintained on migrants, the assistance provided, number of migrants who died en route to their home states, relief measures/compensation and more.
(With inputs from IANS)