Hours after migrant workers’ frustration at the extended lockdown erupted in Bandra, about 150 migrant labourers, including some women and children, began to walk on the roads in Kondhwa, suburban Pune, early on Wednesday morning. Mostly natives of various districts in Madhya Pradesh, they demanded that they be allowed to return to their villages.
Officials said the migrant workers and families in this locality have been restive owing to absence of wages and difficulties in accessing food and money to pay rent.
These workers are currently not accommodated in shelter homes or migrant labourer camps set up by the municipal corporation where food is supplied by civil society or government sources. They live in shared rented accommodation with families and have been facing serious challenges with regard to food and sanitation.
Government officials said they were eventually peacefully persuaded to return to their rented rooms and efforts will be made to resolve their problems.
Inspector Vinayak Gaikwad, in-charge of Kondhwa police station said, “A group of around 150 persons including labourers and their families, who currently live in Katraj and hail from various places on Madhya Pradesh, had started walking to go to their native places. While they were coming to Khadi Machine Chowk, our team stopped them around 3,30 am. We convinced them that there was no way they could be allowed to head for their native places and that arrangement for their food and shelter will be made by the government. They were taken to Darekar School in Kondhwa, which is a designated shelter camp. But after going there, they started saying that instead of staying in the school, they will prefer to go back to their homes in Pune. We tried to pursue them to stay back, but they were insistent. Thus they were asked to head back home and were instructed to follow all safety norms.”
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