With industries opening up in Haryana following the relaxation in lockdown restrictions, almost 65,000 migrant workers in the state have decided against returning to their home states.
“Eleven trains were cancelled after we found less people willing to return to their states. Initially, as many as 2,000 people used to reach the stations when we called 1,600. Now, when we call 1,600 people, only 600-700 turn up at stations to go back to their states,” Haryana CID chief Anil Kumar Rao told The Indian Express on Friday. An ADGP-rank officer, Rao has been monitoring the movement of migrant workers and coordinating with officers of other states.
He said they had planned a special train to Odisha to take 1,600 migrant workers home. “Today, I received a text message from a senior officer in Odisha that only 300 workers are willing to return to their state,” said Rao.
According to officials, besides the resumption of industrial activities, many migrant labourers do not wish to return now as they work with farmers and are eyeing work opportunities in the upcoming paddy sowing season.
According to Rao, as many as 3.25 lakh workers have been sent to their home states from Haryana on 96 trains and 5,200 buses.
According to officials, about 1.13 lakh people out of the 3.2 lakh who were recently contacted to be sent home were found to have already reached home. About 65,000 were not willing to return. More than 80,000 still want to go back and 97 per cent are waiting for government assistance for the journey. More than 60,000 phone numbers mentioned in the applications were found to be invalid.
Principal Secretary (transport) Anurag Rastogi said resumption of economic activities might have prompted many of migrants to stay back. “There must be a feeling that what they would achieve by returning now. Travelling back may also be challenging ,” said Rastogi, also monitoring the movement of workers.