Coimbatore

Send us back home: migrant workers

Plants being burnt on the road as part of the protest by migrant workers from Nethaji Apparel Park in Perumanallur on the outskirts of Tiruppur on Thursday.

Plants being burnt on the road as part of the protest by migrant workers from Nethaji Apparel Park in Perumanallur on the outskirts of Tiruppur on Thursday.   | Photo Credit: HANDOUT_E_MAIL

Nearly 200 migrant workers working at apparel factories at Nethaji Apparel Park staged a road roko at Perumanallur on Thursday demanding that they should be sent to their respective hometowns.

The workers burnt tyres and plants removed from the median of the Salem-Kochi National Highway near New Tiruppur Area during the protest. They are said to be without employment due to the COVID-19 lockdown, police sources said.

The apparel park housed 54 garment production factories and most of them took up orders for exports. Only nine were functional now and a few more were getting ready to start operations. About 15,000 workers were employed at the units in the park and at least 5,000 were migrant labourers, said industry sources.

District Superintendent of Police Disha Mittal, Avinashi Deputy Superintendent of Police L. Baskar along with other police personnel rushed to the spot.

Ms. Mittal and Mr. Baskar held talks with the workers, following which the protest was withdrawn, the police sources said. The officers also spoke with officials from the industrial park regarding the workers’ conditions.

Most of the protesters were from Odisha, Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, who were living in about 350 residential units opposite the Nethaji Apparel Park. The workers could be sent to their hometowns only after receiving the approval of the respective State governments, the sources noted.

Collector K. Vijayakarthikeyan said the district administration held talks with the officials of the Apparel Park to commence operations in the knitwear units, as only a few units resumed work on Wednesday. “Once work starts, we expect the problem to settle down,” he said.

Following a complaint from Perumanallur Village Administrative Officer Gandhimathi, the police arrested 10 protesters in the evening.

The police sources said the 10 migrant workers, who were from Bihar (5), Uttar Pradesh (3) Odisha (1) and Madhya Pradesh (1), allegedly instigated the protest. They were remanded in judicial custody.

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Printable version | Jul 10, 2020 1:35:33 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Coimbatore/send-us-back-home-migrant-workers/article31529374.ece

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