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Migrant workers now a big asset that states are refusing to let go of Row Over K’taka Move; States Issue Fresh Appeals

May 07, 2020 06:37 AM


Migrant workers now a big asset that states are refusing to let go of
Row Over K’taka Move; States Issue Fresh Appeals
Chethan Kumar & Srinath Vudali


Hundreds of migrant workers battling uncertainties across Bengaluru due to the lockdown were left high and dry as news of the Karnataka government cancelling Shramik Special trains to ferry them home trickled in on Wednesday. The move prompted All India Central Council of Trade Unions to move the Karnataka high court seeking its urgent intervention.

The opposition attacked Karnataka’s BJP government, with CPM general secretary Sitaram Yechury accusing it of treating migrants worse than “bonded labourers”.

Meanwhile in Telangana, the police brass decided to circulate CM K Chandrashekhar Rao’s appeal (in Hindi) urging migrants to stay back now that construction work and industrial activity have resumed. This came days after KCR promised to run 40 trains a day for a week to ensure safe passage of migrants to their native states. Karnataka CM B S Yediyurappa and his Haryana counterpart Manohar Lal Khattar have already appealed to migrants to drop plans to go home, a development which has brought out the crucial role played by labourers and daily wagers. Urging migrants not to leave and instead start working in manufacturing units that have restarted, Khattar said the coronavirus situation in his state was much better. Most migrants in Haryana are from Bihar, UP, Jharkhand and MP.

Despite appeals from the BSY over 200 workers — from Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Bihar and UP — stranded in Varthur had to face police intervention on Wednesday as they looked for ways to return to their home states. Another group told TOI many of them were beaten up by cops in Mahadevapura, a charge the jurisdictional inspector denied. One labourer from a camp of about 1,000 workers said, “In the morning, some cops came to our colony and asked us to go to the station. When we did, we were caned and two of our workers were badly hurt, with one sustaining head injuries.”

Meanwhile, Karnataka on Wednesday also announced a Rs 1,610 crore relief package. which includes compensation of Rs 5,000 each to thousands of washermen, barbers, auto rickshaw and taxi drivers

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