With Punjab industries gradually oiling its machinery to go full throttle amidst the Covid-19 scare, about 50 percent of the migrant labourers, who have registered at the state’s web portal to return to their native towns, have decided to stay back.
Every day, the number of migrants going back to their home towns, via trains or buses, is “thinning”, while still many others wanted to return to their native places.
The state has a migrant population of around 13 lakhs, of which the Government has, so far, facilitated the return of 3.95 lakh migrants through more than 300 special trains, with maximum from Bihar, and majority going to Bihar and Uttar Pradesh.
During his Facebook Live programme ‘#AskCaptain’ a day before, the Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh had also pointed that nearly half of those migrants who had applied for online registration had willingly decided to stay back, and had also started working in the industry.
The Chief Minister had also thanked the labourers who had chosen to stay back and contribute to Punjab’s economic strength, adding that “this is your state and you are part of it”.
Notably, out of the total 2.56 lakh industries in the State, 1.5 lakh have already resumed operations as of now.
Describing the trend as “the sign of normalcy returning”, Mohali Deputy Commissioner Girish Dayalan said that the train, which left the Mohali Railway Station for Motihari Station in Bihar on Sunday, saw only 866 migrant workers going back to their home State.
Dayalan said that earlier the number of migrant workers making a return to home states from the district varied between1300-1600 on average but owing to the opening up of the industrial sector and allowing of the construction activities, a large of migrant population is choosing to stay back.
Supporting his argument, Dayalan said that till date, out of more than 55,000 migrants contacted, less than half, that is only 26,239, have gone back which brings out the fact that the drop off rate is on the increase.
At the same time, the Deputy Commissioner appealed that all the migrant workers who want to stay back, are most welcome to do so while those who still want to go back to their home states, would be sent at the earliest.
Meanwhile, the state Nodal Officer for facilitating migrants return Vikas Pratap said that with 300th train leaving from Patiala on Sunday evening, Punjab Government has facilitated return of more than 3.95 lakh migrant workers to their home states.
“Total 23 trains are running today taking total number to 311, making Punjab one of the top performing States in this regard. The State Government has spent Rs 21.8 crores till now in form of cost of these operations,” he added.
Pratap said that out of total 311, maximum trains (204) have gone to Uttar Pradesh, with another 82 taking migrants to Bihar, followed by nine to Jharkhand, seven to Madhya Pradesh and two to Chhatisgarh and West Bengal. One train each has gone to Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Manipur, Tamil Nadu and Uttrakhand.