Scores of migrant workers from the north and northeastern India have left Kerala since the devastating floods. Two special trains have ferried migrants to the northeastern regions in the last 10 days, but many others are still waiting to leave.
The labour department accommodated stranded migrants in relief camps in many parts of Kerala along with local residents. As local residents are shifting back to their houses and camps are being shut, some migrant workers are leaving for their home states.
“One camp at Aluva in Ernakulam had 150 migrants from West Bengal. After the camp was shut, most of them left for their home state on Friday. There were migrant workers in camps in Perumbavur and Kothamangalam regions. Those who are leaving Kerala had been staying in affected areas. Once trade and construction is normal, they will come back,” said a revenue department official.
In Ernakulam district, Perumbavur and nearby areas have the largest concentration of migrant workers. Perumbavur municipal chairperson Sathi Jayakrishnan said the loss of jobs had prompted the migrants to leave. “Those engaged in construction and odd jobs have left the region. Shops in flood-hit regions remain closed,” she said.
Construction worker Salim Gain, 29, who hails from Nadia district of West Bengal, said he was returning along with six others. “My boss told me that there is no job,” he said.
Gain said they were living in an under-construction building when Aluva region got flooded. “We stayed on the third floor. Our mobile phones went off. We drank rain water for two days. When the water retreated, we moved to the camp.” Sinbad Gain, 20, said they had planned to quit earlier, but there was no money. “Yesterday, our supervisor gave money for tickets,” he said.
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