THOUSANDS OF migrant powerloom workers, residing in the labour colonies in Laskana area on the outskirts of Surat city and employed in the factories in Diamond Nagar Industrial area, blocked roads and resorted to arson in violation of lockdown on Friday. The workers wanted to go back home after they apparently heard that the lockdown would be extended. .
Sources said that over 20,000 powerloom workers, who are natives of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Orissa, broke into a timber godown on the main road and took out wooden blocks and set them on fire. Police reached the spot to control the situation.
The workers had also pelted stones on the vehicles of the Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS) of the Surat unit that provides cooked food packets to around 500 workers.
The migrant workers were demanding that necessary arrangements be made for them to return to their native places and are also seeking quick disbursal of unpaid dues, PTI said quoting an official.
Surat police commissioner R B Brahmbhatt said, “There are 31 messes running in the labour colonies and several NGOs are also providing food. Their only demand was they wanted to go back to their homes. We have controlled the situation and police staff has been deployed. Police vehicles were also damaged in the incident.”
Federation of Gujarat Weavers’ Association president Ashok Jirawala said, “After talking to labourers, we have come to know that they wanted to go home to their native place. The Orissa Government had announced that the lockdown will be extended to April 30. These labourers are worried about their families in Orissa, so they wanted to return home.”
Talking to The Indian Express, Surat PAAS co convenor Dharmik Malaviya said,” We went to deliver food kits and saw a number of labourers come out from labour colonies and pelt stones on us. We escaped from the spot but our vehicle got damaged.”