Krishna Chaudhary, a painter, would have never left Jiganhat village in Madhya Pradesh’s Satna district had he got enough work at home.
The 24-year-old returned to the village after the factory in Jammu where he worked shut down during the lockdown. He was lucky: he returned home on a bike, while many of his fellow villagers in other states made the return home on foot.
However, he could not go home straight away — upon making the journey home, he was quarantined for 14 days in May at the village school.
Chaudhary said he was unhappy because of the long, idle hours he spent in quarantine. He and his fellow inmates at the quarantine centre were looking for work, and approached the sarpanch. At this point, the government learnt that he had worked as a painter, and asked him if he could use his skill to make the school-turned-quarantine centre resemble the Vande Bharat Express.
Others also volunteered to chip in, and over the next 15 days, these workers painted the school according to the designs provided by officials.
Ashok Vishwakarma was among a dozen labourers quarantined in the school.
“We discussed that the school building needs a coat of paint because it was in bad shape,” the 27-year-old, who used to paint boards in Mumbai, said. “There is no better building in the vicinity now.”
Sarpanch Umesh Chaturvedi says he arranged for paint and brush and other material. The migrants did not charge any money for their labour. He says it took nearly three weeks for the makeover.
Krishna has since left quarantine, and says he has got some orders in nearby villages. “I don’t want to go back (to Jammu),” he said, stating that he hopes he gets more orders to match the Rs 6,000 he was paid in the factory.
Panel to provide jobs to migrants back home
The Madhya Pradesh government Friday constituted a commission that aims to provide employment to labourers who returned to the state after March 1 due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The setting-up of the commission was announced about four weeks ago.
The panel will have a tenure of two years, which can be extended. The government will soon name its chairman and two members. “We will make their livelihood so comfortable that they will not have to go outside the state,” CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan said Friday.
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