Migrant workers demand safe passage home

Gomantak Times
Tuesday, 19 May 2020

Get restless, gather outside North Goa Collector's office in large numbers.

PANAJI: Hundreds of migrant workers from different States assembled outside the North Goa Collector's office, Panaji on Monday morning demanding arrangements to be done to send them back to their respective native States.
The restive workers were mostly from West Bengal, Odisha, Bihar and Uttar Pradesh who demanded that the government should make arrangements for their return to their home States. 
"We don't have work here, there is no income. We don't have money to eat and we have to pay room rent," said one of the workers from Bengal, who also urged the authorities to make arrangements either by railway or buses to send them back.
Panaji DySP Uttam Raut Dessai pacified them and told them not to crowd in front of the collectorate building and to stand in a queue by maintaining social distancing norms. He also assured them that the government will ensure that they are sent back to their native States. He also refuted allegations made by the workers that they had paid money for their tickets and requested them to disclose the name of the officer who took money from them.
Additional Collector-I Dashrath Redkar also assured them and clarified that none of the authorities were charging money to fill their forms. He told the agitated migrants that three Shramik special trains will leave Goa shortly and that they will be accommodated in these trains. He also asked them to submit a list of workers who wish to leave by private buses to the office of the North Goa collector. They will be allowed to leave by buses once the Collector receives permission from their respective native States. 

Meanwhile, another group of migrant workers mostly from West Bengal assembled outside the office of Science and Technology Minister Michael Lobo at Calangute for registration of their names. The police had to rush to the place and ask them to maintain physical distancing. 
Lobo said that most of the workers from West Bengal and Odisha working in the hotel industry in the coastal belt wanted to return home. He said that the Goa government will speak to West Bengal and Odisha counterparts as these were two States where the governments were yet to arrange Shramik Special trains to take their citizens back home. 
Lobo also added that if required the hotel and restaurant owners association will arrange the train from Goa and send these workers back home. 

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