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Sunday, May 09, 2021

Haryana starts moving migrants from shelters to their homes within the state

To begin with, shifting of the migrant labourers, who are stranded across the state and lodged in various shelter homes, is only allowed inter-district within Haryana.

Written by Varinder Bhatia | Chandigarh |
April 17, 2020 10:50:53 pm
Migrant workers returning home could spread coronavirus in sub-continent: World Bank Over 16,000 labourers are lodged in over 200 shelter homes across 22 districts of Haryana. (Express file Photo by Gajendra Yadav)

In an apparent first, Haryana has started movement of migrants from shelter homes back to their permanent or temporary homes within the state. To begin with, shifting of the migrant labourers, who are stranded across the state and lodged in various shelter homes, is only allowed inter-district within Haryana. State officials, however, said that options were being explored to allow the inter-state migration of labourers, also.

Sanitised buses, health checks

Before the migrants are allowed to board sanitised buses and vehicles while being escorted by trained police staff and Health Department officials, all such travellers are first medically examined and their detailed dossier prepared by the Nodal officers appointed at the point of departure.

The same details are then sent to the Nodal officer of the destination where the migrants are being taken. On reaching their destinations, the migrant labourers are again made to undergo another medical examination.

Labour for permitted activities

Over 16,000 labourers are lodged in over 200 shelter homes across 22 districts of Haryana. Government aims to utilise majority of these migrant labourers in agriculture and industrial activities. They had left their temporary homes for their native places when panic struck with the announcement of a nationwide lockdown.

“Majority of the shelter home occupants are those people who were found walking on the highways after the nationwide lockdown began. Thus, we brought them to the shelter homes. Now, after the government issued directions, from today we started sending them to the places from where they first started. There are a large number of such migrants who panicked when nationwide lockdown was announced and left their temporary residences in the districts where they used to work. Now, once they reach back to their homes, they will be able to get back to their workplaces and resume their normal lives”, one of the Nodal officers told The Indian Express.

A senior Haryana government officer told The Indian Express: “While the harvesting season is already on and sowing will follow it in coming weeks, many of these migrant labourers can immediately get employment and earn livelihood. Also, there are strong hopes of resuming the industrial activity in certain areas after April 20. Many of these labourers are industrial workers and will be able to get back to their workplaces.”

“Directions have been issued to concerned officers to ensure that when the labourers are moving from one place to the other for work they should undergo medical screening to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and that the concerned authorities should maintain data of such labourers so that sub-camps can be set up in case they need to stay on-site,” Chief Secretary Keshni Anand Arora said.

Detailed instructions for DMs

Haryana government has asked District Magistrates to exercise their discretion, examine each and every case of migrant transfer, directing that if satisfied, the officers should “facilitate, coordinate and take all necessary steps for smooth and peaceful transfer of those belonging to various districts of Haryana who are presently residing in various shelter homes to their respective homes within Haryana”.

As per the guidelines issued by the Revenue and Disaster Management Department, “A Nodal officer (not below the rank of HCS officer) shall be appointed for identification, medical check-up and ensuring smooth travel passage for such labourers. Due care should be taken to ensure that these labourers are peacefully segregated from other labourers within the shelter, so as to avoid unrest and rumour mongering”.

Consent of those migrants, who need to be transferred out of shelter homes, is also mandatory.

“Willingness of those persons in shelter homes who do not belong to Haryana but who have completed 14/28 days stay and wish to shift to another address in Haryana be also recorded meticulously,” the instructions read.

Another officer said: “We are maintaining a complete record of names, destination, address and medical examinations of all persons before they board the disinfected vehicles. A copy of the entire record-sheet is then sent to the receiving districts before departure.”

Haryana government has also given option to those migrant labourers who do not wish to be transferred out of the shelter homes to “take up any work locally including agricultural, construction and industrial work, whether or not they belong to Haryana”. The government has allowed such migrant labourers to get out for work and return to the shelter home daily.

“If some persons are moved from one relief camp/shelter home to a nearby village for agriculture activities, the destination will be classified as sub-relief centre of the original centre,” the government’s instructions mention.

The government has also asked Nodal officers in all the districts to engage all such migrant labourers staying in shelter homes to utilise their skills as and when required.

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