Soren seeks permission to fly back workers

Jharkhand government to provide free food and water for returning migrants along national highways

Updated - May 22, 2020 01:56 am IST

Published - May 22, 2020 12:13 am IST - Patna/Bhubaneswar

Food being served in one of the over 6,000 Mukhya Mantri Didi Kitchens in Jharkhand.

Food being served in one of the over 6,000 Mukhya Mantri Didi Kitchens in Jharkhand.

Days after a spat with Railway Minister Piyush Goyal over ferrying migrants on special trains, Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren has written to Union Home Minister Amit Shah expressing willingness to bring back the “distressed workers” of his State from Leh and the north-eastern States on chartered flights with “dignity”.

“So far we have been able to get back 1.5 lakh stranded workers, students and other persons by trains and buses and while executing this evacuation exercise, we came to know that nearly 200 labourers of Jharkhand are stuck in the difficult terrain of Ladakh. Similarly, around 450 such workers are stranded in the north-eastern States. Distress calls from there are being received every day in my office... due to the difficult terrain of these places, a viable solution would be to lift them by air,” said Mr. Soren in his one-page letter dated May 20 to the Home Minister. Noting that MHA lockdown rules prohibit chartered flights, he urged Mr. Shah to grant permission while reminding him about an earlier request dated May 12 for a similar chartered flight from the Andaman & Nicobar Islands to bring back over 300 workers of the State.

Nearly 4 lakh migrant workers from Jharkhand are stuck in different parts of the country after the nationwide lockdown was imposed to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Many of them have returned home but lakhs of migrants are still stranded.

Mr. Soren, who has been vocal about the official insensitivity towards the plight of migrant workers, also announced the opening of community kitchens along highways to provide free food.

Spots identified

The community kitchens will be set up at a gap of 20 km along bordering national highways and migrant workers found walking towards their homes will be provided food and water free of cost. The Jharkhand CMO has identified 94 spots so far for the purpose along national highways. Besides, Jharkhand has been providing two meals to about 45,000 people every day through 6,432 ‘Didi Kitchens’

Migrant workers from other States who are either stranded in Jharkhand or using the State as transit route will also avail free food in the community kitchens. They will be taken to a nearby centre from where vehicles will be arranged to ferry them to their respective State borders.

“People should not lose humanity at the time of pandemic. We should set an example. About 7 lakh workers from Jharkhand are stranded outside. Food and accommodation arrangements for more than 6 lakh of those migrant workers have been made in coordination with different State governments,” said Mr. Soren. The government was also making efforts to bring back migrant workers stuck outside by special trains and buses, he said.

On May 15, Mr. Soren had directed all district administrations as well as Jharkhand police to ensure that no person belonging to Jharkhand or any other State walks towards their destinations.

0 / 0
Sign in to unlock member-only benefits!
  • Access 10 free stories every month
  • Save stories to read later
  • Access to comment on every story
  • Sign-up/manage your newsletter subscriptions with a single click
  • Get notified by email for early access to discounts & offers on our products
Sign in


Comments have to be in English, and in full sentences. They cannot be abusive or personal. Please abide by our community guidelines for posting your comments.

We have migrated to a new commenting platform. If you are already a registered user of The Hindu and logged in, you may continue to engage with our articles. If you do not have an account please register and login to post comments. Users can access their older comments by logging into their accounts on Vuukle.