A DAY after the Centre issued fresh guidelines regarding movement of stranded persons, the Rajasthan government on Thursday initiated the process of sending hundreds of labourers back to their native places in Haryana.
Congress MLA from Haryana’s Dabwali constituency Amit Sihag, who is coordinating with Rajasthan officials, told The Indian Express that arrangements have been made to send over 1,000 stranded labourers from Jaisalmer district of Rajasthan to Haryana. “These labourers had gone to work in agricultural fields, harvest gram and mustard, in Jaisalmer district. But they got stranded there,” said Sihag.
Jaisalmer’s Assistant Director (Public Services) Bharat Bhushan Goyal told this newspaper that the Rajasthan government has provided buses for this process. “I am looking after an area called Nachna in Jaisalmer district, from where 150 labourers will be sent to Haryana. Many of them had come to Jaisalmer 2-3 months back. Harvesting season was over in the last week of March. After that they were staying in shelter homes,” he added.
On being told that hundreds of labourers from Haryana were stranded in Rajasthan, the Dabwali MLA had raised the issue with both state authorities on Wednesday. Sihag said these labourers are from Sirsa, Fatehabad and Palwal districts of Haryana.
On Thursday, buses arranged by the Rajasthan government reached different parts of Jaisalmer district to take the labourers to their native places. “The buses were sanitised and social distancing was ensured before the labourers boarded the vehicles. They will be medically examined once they reach Haryana. The Rajasthan government had sent 2,700 labourers to Punjab recently,” said Sihag.
Nanak Singh, a labourer and resident of Kariwala, Sirsa, told The Indian Express that almost half of the population of labourers who had gone to Jaisalmer district are women. “I along with other family members had gone to Jaisalmer on March 18 for agricultural work. Soon after the imposition of lockdown, we were not allowed to move anywhere. For a few days, we stayed at the dhani (hamlet) of a farmer but when we started facing problems of ration, we moved to a neighbouring town, Suthar Mandi. We started living near a gurdwara so we would get food. The government ration did not reach to us,” added the 60-year-old.
While he has been going to Rajasthan for farm work for the last five years, this year, they made no money. “This season we could not earn anything as we were not allowed to move from one place to other and work in groups,” he added.
The Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) on Wednesday had issued revised guidelines regarding the movement of stranded persons. “Due to lockdown, migrant workers, pilgrims, tourists, students and other persons are stranded at different places. They would be allowed to move…All states/UTs should designate nodal authorities and develop standard protocols for receiving and sending such stranded persons. The nodal authorities shall also register the stranded persons within their states/ UTs,” said the MHA’s order issued on Wednesday.
Sihag urged the Haryana government to bring back students stranded in Pune, Noida, Kota and Bengaluru