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4,286 trains deployed, 58 lakh migrants return home

The Centre has stated that 90 per cent of the migrants have been ferried to their home-States. However, as the lockdown is being lifted and the business activities resumed as dictated by economic exigencies, there is a shortage of hands in the States which had sent home the migrant labour. Many biz men are luring them back offering attractive incentives like free air tickets.

NEW DELHI, June 7: About 58 lakh migrants wanting to return to home-States have been ferried till Saturday, according to the Railways, which ran 4,286 trains. The remaining workers are being transported within a fortnight. The Centre had told the Supreme Court last week that 90 per cent of the migrants have been brought home. Of the returnees, 28 lakh arrived in Bihar.

The migrant workers mainly from Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and Bengal in far away States like Karnataka, Tamil Ndu, Punjab, Delhi, Kerala and Andhra Pradesh were rendered jobless and helpless as all industrial and business activities came to a standstill following the countrywide lockdown clamped on March 25 to prevent the transmission of coronavirus epidemic.

The lockdown is being lifted by the Centre from June 8 in phases but now the matter has been left to the State Governments to decide individually in consultation with the Health Ministry depending on the local situation that varies from region to region.

While there are two lakh workers left in Delhi, Haryana has said two lakh people still staying back in the State do not want to return now. Haryana had sent home 3.26 lakh migrant labour.

Interestingly, as the industries are now opening up, there is great demand for these workers. In Maharashtra, a large number of industries and constructiion works are unable to resume for want of workers. So is the case in Haryana and other States.

In Hyderabad, there is a shortrage of carpenters, painters, granite workers and construction workers and the like, accordng to reports. About 50 per cent of the workers here were from Bihar, Bengal and Jharkhand and the rest from UP, MP, Punjab, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu. Those returned from Hyderabad constituted 1.5 lakh migrants who were employed in the realty sector alone.

The builders are luring the migrants to return by offering air tickets, AC train tickets and in some cases an advance payment of Rs 10,000.

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