Covid-19 Educational Employment Health Telangana

Migrants throng transit points, Telangana officials in denial

Hyderabad: With the number of Covid-19 cases spiralling, thousands of migrant workers have left the city in the past two weeks, and many continue to do so due to the loss of livelihoods and fears of imposition of a full-fledged lockdown.

However, the State’s Labour department denies the exodus. Instead, officials claim that these are isolated incidents of migration, and the situation is not as bad as last year. They say measures would soon be taken to persuade these workers to not leave the city.

During the last week, at various transit points of Hyderabad, Express met scores of migrant labourers largely from Odisha, Bihar, West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh and Jharkhand. Expressing concerns of getting stuck in the city like the last year, many of them claimed that they had already lost their livelihoods since the start of the second wave. They fear that if they wait here any longer, they might even lose their lives due to sheer poverty.

K Rakesh, Hyderabad coordinator of Jan Sahas, an organisation which has been working with the State Labour department on issues of migrant workers, said, “Almost all bus stops and railway stations in the city are now filled with migrant workers. During the last few days, hundreds of people have left the city and the exodus is still continuing. As there is no full lockdown till now, migrants are not receiving any special aid, like ration.

However, the State Labour department claims that they have not received any reports of mass migrations. “Till now, no district officials have complained of such migrations. Unlike the last year, migrants are not leaving the city this time. Only some isolated incidents have occurred.

However, if we receive reports of such migrations, we will try to provide them temporary accommodations at home shelters,” said the official, on the condition of anonymity. He added that the department would also ask the employers of the workers to provide rations to their staff so that they do not leave. “We, too, will try to provide ration to them and persuade them to not leave the city,” the official added.

While Ch Rakesh, CPRO of SCR, also denied the claims of an exodus, many migrants are waiting at railway and bus stations for days, seeking tickets to return home. Multiple IRCTC and RPF (Railway Protection Force) officials told Express that in the past few days, many migrants are thronging Secunderabad railway station to board long distance trains towards Odisha and Bihar.