Migrant workers stranded at the border

Migrant workers from Andhra Pradesh and Odisha are now at Kittur Rani Chennamma Residential School in Madhugiri taluk   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

As many as 95 people — all migrant workers and their children — from Prakasam and Visakhapatnam districts of Andhra Pradesh and Malkangiri district of Odisha, who were working in Karnataka, have been spending the past few days at a temporary shelter at Madhugiri in Tumakuru district.

Earlier to being housed in the shelter, they spent two nights on the streets on Karnataka–Andhra Pradesh border near Amarapura in Sira taluk, as the Andhra Pradesh police did not allow them to enter their State. Of the 95 people, 50 are men, 42 are women and three children.

They had come to work in Shivamogga district, Challakere in Chitradurga district, and Hassan district four months back. They were working in Hassan during the outbreak of COVID-19 and the subsequent lockdown. Desperate to return to their home towns, they travelled to the border in mini-trucks, but they were denied entry by the Andhra Pradesh police.

Migrant worker of C.S. Puram in Prakasam district, B. Ravi, told The Hindu, “The police made us wait and then asked us to go back without providing any alternative.” He alleged that though the police gave them food, they did not even allow them eat until they retreated back to the Karnataka side. “A farmer was kind enough to provide us water and allow us to stay on his land. Some villagers gave us rice and vegetables to cook food,” he said.

Construction worker of Teenrajpalli in Malkangiri K. Lakshman said they were chased when they stopped at the shops on the way at Sira to buy water bottles and biscuits. He alleged that some other villagers asked them to leave the place out of fear of contracting COVID-19, though they have had no symptoms.A police officer of Pattanayakanahalli station came to the spot and warned the villagers and told them to allow the group to stay near the village till they were provided shelter.

Finally, the Madhugiri taluk administration has provided them shelter at Kittur Rani Chennamma Residential School at Nallekamanahalli. Tahsildar of Madhugiri G. Vishwanath said as the students had gone home, cooks of the school had been told to cook for them and a police van had been stationed to provide security. Taluk social welfare officer S.L. Harish said taluk health officer visited them and a PHC doctor examined all of them and certified them to be healthy.

Mr. Ravi appealed to the authorities concerned in Andhra Pradesh to allow them to return to their villages as they did not have work in Karnataka.

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Printable version | Dec 5, 2020 8:52:17 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/migrant-workers-stranded-at-the-border/article31242104.ece

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