Over 700 workers employed in powerloom units in Palsana area in Surat took to the streets on Sunday night, demanding that they be allowed to go to their homes in Odisha as they are facing shortage of food. Surat district police controlled the situation and started supplying food from Monday afternoon. Most of the labourers work in powerloom factories and dyeing and printing mills in Mangal Murti industrial estate at Jolva village GIDC.
Earlier on Friday, police arrested 81 people after nearly 20,000 migrants employed in powerloom units in Laskana area of Surat took to the streets on Friday night, resorting to arson and stone-pelting, demanding that they be allowed to return home, mostly in Odisha.
Subham Pradhan, a native of Ganjam district in Odisha, who works in Jolva, said, “We have come to know that the lockdown has been extended for 15 days. For the last 19 days, I have been sharing a room with five to six people. We are staying in a pathetic condition and are not being able to move outside. We are also facing shortage of food as the mess owner has run out of supplies. We have very little money left and we have to pay the rent as well. The powerloom owners have not paid us in full and also refused to take responsibility of our food. We want to go back to our native place.”
After learning about the incident, Palansa police station staff reached the spot and talked to the labourers. The police also assured the labourers that they will be provided food following which the situation came under control.
On Monday afternoon, with the help of NGO and mill owners, food was supplied to the labour colonies in Mangal Murti industrial estate at Jolva GIDC.
Palsana police sub-inspector H M Gohil said, “The industrial estate has small and medium size powerloom factories along with labour settlements. Most of the labourers are from Odisha, while some are from UP and Bihar. We have not registered any offence into the incident. All the labourers returned to their rented homes. We have also deployed police staff outside the labour colonies. We have also kept police force on standby.”
Meanwhile, Sahiba Dyeing and Printing Mill owners alongwith Shantinath Yuvak Mandal of Bardoli town supplied food to the labourers in Mangal Murti industrial estate.
Sahiba Mill owner Titubhai Saluja said, “Our factory is in Palsana and the incident took place in Jolva industrial GIDC, which is a few kilometers from Palsana. We are already supplying cooked food twice a day to the textile labourers. Now we have increased the quantity food from Monday onwards. We are also getting support from other factories and a big kitchen has been set up in our factory where food is cooked for around 3,000 people twice a day.”
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