The ordeal of the migrant labourers who missed trains to their home towns continued on Monday with a section of residents in North Chennai opposing the lodging of the workers in various community halls and marriage halls alleging that they might be infected by COVID-19 and could lead to an outbreak in the nearby localities.
Over 1,700 stranded workers were decided to be accommodated at 17 temporary shelters of the Greater Chennai Corporation for the next 10 days.
When the workers were taken to the shelters, the locals started opposing it. A group of 97 workers were lodged at a private marriage hall in Tiruvottiyur after the residents of Thiruchanankuppam objected to their lodging at a government middle school.
“We tried to move them to the middle school, but rumours spread among the locals at Thiruchanankuppam that they were COVID-19 patients. So, the public opposed it. Hence, we have put them in a private marriage hall,” said a corporation official.
At Chennasekkadu in Manali, the residents opposed another group of stranded workers being provided temporary shelter at a Corporation community hall. Following the protest by the local people, the workers were moved to another community hall at Madhavaram.
Another batch of 63 stranded workers had to be shifted to a community hall at Mullai Nagar in Vysarpadi following a public protest at Mangammal Thottam at Washermenpet. “When we are rescuing Indians stranded in foreign countries, why should people object to the poor workers stranded because of the cancellation of train services? We have brought the workers after screening them for COVID-19 symptoms. Some miscreants are spreading unnecessary rumours through social media,” lamented a corporation official.