1.95 lakh migrant workers on govt. radar

Senior bureaucrats will now directly monitor their welfare

April 06, 2020 11:23 pm | Updated 11:23 pm IST - CHENNAI

A majority of the labourers belong to Odisha, Bihar, West Bengal and Assam. K. Pichumani

A majority of the labourers belong to Odisha, Bihar, West Bengal and Assam. K. Pichumani

Over 1.95 lakh migrant workers, rendered jobless following the COVID-19 lockdown, have been brought under a surveillance system where senior bureaucrats directly monitor their welfare, including the provision of accommodation, food and healthcare.

A majority of the labourers, who work in the textile industry, brick kilns and the construction sector, belong to Odisha, Bihar, West Bengal and Assam.

A ‘Guest Workers’ committee, comprising senior officers, which was set up by the Chief Minister to look into issues affecting migrant workers, has asked District Collectors to assist in providing accommodation and food to them.

Director-General of Police J.K. Tripathy had nominated Additional Director-General of Police (Operations) Mahesh Kumar Aggarwal as the nodal officer to coordinate the monitoring activities.

A Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) was evolved to identify, enumerate and bring the workers under a management plan under which accommodation, food and healthcare would be ensured for the workers, with daily checks conducted by the local police. District nodal officers in the rank of Deputy Superintendent of Police and police liaison staff in the rank of Head/Police Constable for each accommodation centre were nominated in all cities/districts to gather details of the workers.

The police then reached out to the employers and sensitised them about their responsibilities towards the workers.

WhatsApp groups

WhatsApp groups of police liaison staff at the district level and district nodal officers at the State level were created for instant sharing of information.

The contact numbers of senior IAS/IPS officers in charge of the scheme were shared with the workers and their employers.

According to a senior official, the nationwide lockdown led to workers panicking over issues like the possibility of going back home, temporary loss of work, food problem and, most importantly, the fear of contracting the coronavirus.

“We have now ensured the well-being of the workers and their family members,” Mr. Aggarwal said.

Where the employers are not in a position to provide accommodation and food, the district administrations are making arrangements in community halls, schools etc. Voluntary organisations have extended support.

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