Bhubaneswar (Special Opinion) The first migrant labourers special train from Lingampalli to Hatia with 1225 migrant labourers was operated today (1.5.2020). The migrant labourers were brought to Railway station in 56 buses. The station was properly barricaded and adequate RPF, GRP and local police personnel were deployed to guard the station from all sides to prevent entry of unauthorized persons. Migrant labourers in queues were guided by RPF teams to the coaches and seated by maintaining social distancing. Tickets were issued to them by commercial staff. Food packets and water bottles were provided to them by state government officials. PCSC/SCR, Secretary, Panchayat raj and Rural development, Telangana, IG/West Zone, Hyderabad, ADRM/O/SC, SrDSC/SC, Collector/Ranga Reddy Dist, DCM/SC and other railway officers were present and supervised the boarding of labourers and operation of Special train. Entire process was executed smoothly without any hassle with close coordination among Railway and state government departments.The special train with RPF and GRP escort left Lingampalli station at 4.50 hrs with happy and thankful smiles in the faces of migrant labourers.The special arrangement was made following the Ministry of Home Affairs orders which allowed migrant workers and others to travel back to their states. On Wednesday, the MHA issued orders to allow interstate travel for migrant workers, pilgrims, tourists, students and people who remain stranded due to lockdown. The Union government asked the state governments to arrange special buses for their travel. Over 2,000 migrants hailing from Odisha, Madhya Pradesh and Bihar, were working at IIT, Hyderabad. Owing to the lockdown they remained stranded in the campus.The remaining workers would be sent in batches so that the trains and buses don’t get crowded and Physical distance would be maintained as a precaution against getting infected.Two days ago, these workers resorted to violence in the campus, attacking police and damaging their vehicles. The workers were upset and alleged that their employer L&T had not paid them dues, as a result of which they were starving. The workers demanded that they be sent to their homes.Following the violence, Sangareddy collector M Hanumantha Rao, MLA Jagga Reddy and district Superintendent of Police S Chandrasekhar Reddy held deliberations with the representatives of the migrant workers. In the meeting, the authorities learnt that L&T had cut their salaries towards Goods and Services Tax (GST). Following this, the Collector ordered L&T not to deduct their salaries during the present crisis, and further directed them to pay salaries for the month of April by Thursday evening. However, only salaries for the month of March have been paid till Friday morning as per report. L&T has meanwhile received much criticism as the company recently donated Rs 150 crore to PM Cares fund. In Andhra Pradesh also L & T Company has not paid the labourers payment for which they are starving.
Report : Nimai Charan Panda & M V Ramana