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Kerala to vaccinate migrant workers who stay back

Kerala had 20 lakh workers from other states, as per a government-sponsored study conducted a few years ago.

Written by Shaju Philip | Thiruvananthapuram |
April 30, 2021 3:37:29 am
People queue up outside a vaccination centre in Thiruvananthapuram. (PTI/File)

With Kerala deciding to give Covid-19 vaccination to migrant workers staying back, the state Labour Department has initiated steps to ensure these people register themselves on the Co-Win portal.

State Labour Commissioner Dr S Chithra on Thursday said vaccination for migrant workers would be done along with shots meant for those in the age group of 18-44 years.

“Most migrant workers are in that age group. Videos explaining how to register for vaccination have been produced in vernacular languages and are being circulated among them,” Dr Chithra said. “Our assistant labour officers are also helping the workers to register for the vaccination programme.

“We are sending letters to all contractors to see that these workers register their names for vaccination and they get the shots.”

Kerala had 20 lakh workers from other states, as per a government-sponsored study conducted a few years ago. But a large number of them had left the state before last year’s lockdown, and subsequently in special trains when lockdown was lifted — their present numbers in Kerala is estimated at 5 lakh.

Sujatha said many workers who went home during the lockdown have not returned. “We are collecting actual figures. Their present population would be much less than the number of migrants who had been in Kerala during the last year’s lockdown,’’ she said.

She said that after the second surge emerged, the state government has taken several steps to ensure safety of migrant workers. “The Labour Department has suggested the government to start exclusive first-line treatment centres for Covid-19 patients among migrant workers in Ernakulam and Kottayam districts, which have larger presence of the migrants.’’

She said centres have been opened in all 14 districts where queries in Hindi, Bengali, Odia and Assamese languages can be attended to for these people from other parts of the country.

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