Ranchi: Jitendra Malto, 32 is a relaxed man as he boards a Pakur bound bus arranged by the Jharkhand government. Malto a construction worker has just returned from Port Blair to Ranchi by a flight arranged by Hemant Soren government.
“We had gone to Andaman to work on a road construction project. Our work was to end by April. But by then the lockdown had been imposed across India. However, our company not only paid us for the remaining period but also helped us to contact the officials of Jharkhand,” said Malto, over the phone while travelling towards his home.
A father of four, Malto also claims that they did not face much hardship during the lockdown. They had been put up at a school and the company had made arrangements for their food and other basic necessities. Malto was all praises for his company and Hemant Soren government for airlifting them.
His colleague Baijnath Pahadia, another resident of Pakur, was also praising the government. They are travelling with 37 others by a bus to Pakur, after reaching Jharkhand.
The announcement for airlifting these workers was made yesterday itself by CM Soren, at the Ranchi airport when the workers airlifted from Leh reached Jharkhand. Today, the government has brought back 180 workers stranded in several areas of Andaman and Nicobar Islands. A chartered Indigo flight ferried the workers back to Ranchi from Port Blair.
The operation to bring back migrant workers from Andaman was personally supervised by CM Soren. Jharkhand urban development, transport and labour department, as well as Covid Control Room played a key role in coordinating with the local district administration and police in Port Blair to make this mission a success.
The expense (Rs 21 lakh) of airlifting the workers has been borne by the state government. Yesterday, Jharkhand had brought back 60 workers from one of the remotest parts of India, Ladakh.
While on Thursday, the first batch of migrant workers of Jharkhand origin were airlifted from Mumbai. The homecoming of these 180 migrants from Mumbai was done by the Jharkhand government in coordination with the alumni of National Law School, Banglore. They had also crowdfunded for the airfare.
Since lockdown began in India, migrant workers have been on the receiving end. The depressing news is coming from several parts of India, about migrant workers having to walk thousands of kilometres or jumping on to good trucks and getting killed on the way while attempting to reach their homes. Officially it has been accepted that over 80 persons have died while travelling in Sharamik Special trains.
During such times the news related to Jharkhand migrant workers reaching by air is heartening. Jharkhand incidentally was the first state to receive the first Sharamik Special train run in India on May 2.