Bengaluru: With the extension of National lockdown till May 3, Karnataka, especially Bengaluru, is staring at a migrant situation similar to the one happened in Mumbai.
With the extension of the lockdown, majority of the labourers want to return home and are asking the government to make arrangements for their return journey.
However, the state government is pleading helplessness and banking on resuming construction activities to instil confidence among those involved with the construction industry.
At the moment, there are over 80,000 migrant labours in Bengaluru alone, while another 14,500 are scattered around the State.
Of the 80,000 in Bengaluru, around 15,000 belong to various parts of Karnataka like Raichur, Kalaburagi, Vijayapura and so on. Rest of the labourers are from other states like Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, West Bengal, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and North Eastern states.
Most of the migrant workers were hoping that the lockdown would end by April 14 and now feel that it may be further extended beyond May 3. They are now pressurising the government through their employers to make arrangements for their return.
Labour minister Shivaram Hebbar said that the government was aware of the problem. “The decision to send them back has to be taken by the Union government. No arrangements can be made at this juncture of crisis, which would potentially trigger a crisis throughout the country. We are trying to extend all the facility they need,'' he told Deccan Chronicle.
Though two meals are being provided to these people through various agencies as well as the government, the common complaint is that they could not adjust to the food being prepared. While a consortium of construction workers is providing food for construction workers, rest are being looked after by NGOs and the government itself. Since none of them shares common food habits, they are unable to survive on this pattern of food for long. Even the ration kits being provided will help them prepare similar kind of meals.
Some of the labourers are complaining that their health was failing and that their children were suffering from stomach disorders.
Though medical facilities are being provided, they can not be shifted to any hospital. Besides, the government is unable to provide them with counselling, which would have reduced their anxiety.
“We are trying our best to help the unorganised sector labourers. We have decided to allow construction activity from Friday itself. Once it starts, their anxieties would come down,'' he added....