95 PC of guest workers in city want to return: Study

About 95 per cent of the guest workers from other states wanted to return to their native place at the earliest, revealed a study conducted by a city-based volunteer group.
95 PC of guest workers in city want to return: Study
The migrant workers complain that their employers are yet to settle their dues

Chennai

“Only 25 per cent said they may consider staying back if jobs are available, while the rest preferred to leave even if jobs are provided here,” said the study by the Chennai Citizens COVID Fund for Migrant Workers. Welcoming TN government’s April 30 order appointing a nodal officer to coordinate inter-state travel for migrant workers planning to return, the volunteers asked the government to resolve critical issues of unpaid wages and rent overdue of guest workers to facilitate their return.
A survey of 79 workers, drawn from the fund’s database of more than 800 cases representing 14,000 workers, found that at least 63 per cent of the workers surveyed had not received wages for the work done until March 23, when the lockdown began.
As many as 38 per cent of the workers were concerned as they had no money to settle room rent dues.
At an online press conference, the migrant workers employed by companies such as Bay Area Property Developers and L&W Construction spoke of their inability to get their employers to pay their wages and urged the government to put pressure on the employers to settle the dues.
“We are tired and emotionally drained. If we are to stay hungry, we prefer to do it at home, with our family and children,” said Vijendra Mandal, a guest worker from Giridih district of Jharkhand who is stranded along with 12 others in Tamil Nadu. When asked if they would like to return to Tamil Nadu once the crisis gets over, about 86 per cent of the migrant worker said they would because opportunities are not available in their home states.
The volunteer group urged the State government to appoint district-level nodal officers and set up multilingual helplines to respond to queries pouring in from workers eager to return to their natives. It sought allocation of special trains and buses for the inter-state movement as suggested in the Home Affairs Ministry order.
“The State government has launched an exclusive website to enable the return of Tamils stranded overseas. A similar website must be launched for the return of Tamil migrants who are in distress in other states,” they appealed.

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