Tamil Nadu

Migrant workers walk hundreds of miles to try and reach Odisha from Tamil Nadu

The workers have now been accommodated at a shelter in Madharpakkam

The workers have now been accommodated at a shelter in Madharpakkam   | Photo Credit: B. Jothi Ramalingam

Workers from Tiruppur had planned to walk to their native villages in Odisha, but were stopped at the Tamil Nadu-Andhra Pradesh border in Tiruvallur district, and have now been taken to a shelter

Weary yet with hope glistening in his eyes, Sivendu Suvram, a migrant worker has walked all the way from Tiruppur, and was planning to walk all the way to his home in Odisha, to take care of his aged mother.

Mr. Suvram was stopped at a check post on the Tamil Nadu-Andhra Pradesh border in Tiruvallur district, when he was hoping to cross into Andhra Pradesh and somehow walk his way to his hometown. He had six fellow workers for company.

Other migrant workers who were turned back by the Andhra Police at the border had walked from places like Kumbakonam, Thanjavur and even Kerala, hoping to cross over.

“A total of 27 of us started walking from Tiruppur on May 12 and it took us three days to reach Tiruvallur by foot. Sometimes we hopped into a lorry and paid ₹1,000 to travel a few kilometers,” says Mr. Suvram, from Mayurbhanj district in Odisha, who has now been accommodated in a wedding hall in Madharpakkam in Gummidipoondi taluk.

Of the 27, 13 have already left by train and a few pooled in money and booked a bus back home. “We did not have any money, hence we decided to walk. However, the Andhra Pradesh police chased us away into Tamil Nadu and the Tiruvallur officials brought us to the shelter,” explains Mayal Kusko from Bhadrak district in Odisha, who is also at the same shelter.

Dharmendra Jal from Khordha district in Odisha, who also walked from Tiruppur, said that the police were cordial in most places along the route. “But when we reached close to Tiruvallur, they treated us badly,” he said.

Nearly 20 km away from the shelter is the Pethikuppam checkpost at the TN-AP border. Till a few days ago, it was a busy spot as migrant workers tried to cross over into Andhra Pradesh.

Now, the AP Police at the border are more relaxed as they just check the vehicles for passes and ensure that no migrant worker is ferried secretly into their State.

“The crowd now has reduced drastically as we have increased the number of shelters to accommodate migrant workers in Tiruvallur,” said A.N. Kumar, tahsildar, Gummidipoondi.

As on date, there are over 6,000 migrant workers housed in 21 shelters across Tiruvallur district. More than 10,000 workers have already been sent to their hometowns in special trains.

While migrant workers say that they are getting food, water, medicine and a place to stay, they say there is no clarity on when they will be able to leave.

“We are arranging trains and will ensure that all are sent safely to their districts. We are now arranging rotis for them as some workers complained about the food,” said an official.

S. Tilak Raj, from an NGO, Sevai Karangal, said that though more centres have been set up to help migrant workers, the facilities should be streamlined. “Food and water distribution should be done in a planned manner,” he added.

Recommended for you
This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor

Printable version | Jul 9, 2020 5:14:56 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/migrant-workers-walk-hundreds-of-miles-to-try-and-reach-odisha-from-tamil-nadu/article31640720.ece

Next Story