Raise or extend the block, difficult situation for us anyway: Jharkhand CM Soren to PM Modi

RANCHI: The government is facing a dilemma over the blockade as extending it would lead to financial problems and lifting it could trigger an influx of immigrants to the state, Chief Minister Hemant Soren said Saturday.

During an interaction with Prime Minister Narendra, Soren said his government expects more than 5 lakh of migrant workers to return to their villages once the blockade is lifted, increasing the chance of the deadly virus spreading.

But continuing the blockade will further dry up the state's revenue, he added.

Whether the blockade is lifted or extended, it is a difficult situation for us both ways, Soren told the prime minister during the video conference held with the chief ministers to assess the situation in the states due to the pandemic.

According to our data, large numbers of workers are stranded in states severely affected by the coronavirus outbreak. When they return, the situation could deteriorate. They may come as carriers of the virus, Soren said.

He said that more than 1.5 lakh of migrant workers have already returned to Jharkhand and had to be quarantined.

Soren urged Modi to increase the daily wage under the MGNREGA rural work scheme to Rs 300. I think the MGNREGA low wage in the state is the lowest in the country. Therefore, a large number of people from Jharkhand migrate to other states and are making money. Rs 700 to Rs 900 per day. Even after the recent announcement of salary increase under the scheme, he has not crossed Rs 200 in Jharkhand ... So I ask him to set the salary under the scheme at Rs 300, Soren said.

The wage increase under Mahatma Gandhi's National Rural Employment Guarantee Act went into effect on April 1.

The prime minister also asked Modi to consider exempting interest on existing loans for the current tax and urged him to consider releasing delinquencies from GST compensation.

A large number of power supply units like DVC, CCL and SAIL are operating in Jharkhand and have to pay the government, he said.