Covid-19: Many migrant workers in Telangana are still waiting for help

HYDERABAD: The extension of the closure for another two weeks has added to the problems, although the state government has taken certain measures to solve them.

With no money available and little distribution of aid, migrant workers in Hyderabad and various Telangana districts are very concerned.

Although Prime Minister K. has assured that no one will starve to death in Telangana, aid workers say aid must still reach large numbers of workers, especially in the districts.

Fearing hunger and no transportation available, some have even made their way to their respective states on foot, though public officials and officials were trying to persuade them to stay behind.

According to the government, there are 3.5 lakh of migrant workers in Telangana from various states. On March 29, the Chief Minister announced that he will provide 12 kg of rice and 500 rupees in cash each.

They came to serve this state. You are the partners in the development of this state. We treat them like our brothers, sisters and children, KCR had said while asking them to stay in Telangana.

The government has organized some camps for migrant workers in Hyderabad and also provides them with free food.

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However, union leaders said this has been done in only a couple of places in the city center and that aid is yet to reach large numbers of workers outside the city and in the districts.

They also claimed that Telangana has 5 to 6 lakh of migrant workers with almost half of them employed in the construction sector in Hyderabad and the surrounding districts.

Many workers work in brick kilns, granite rice mills, agricultural fields, power construction, fertilizer plants, special economic zones.

They are mostly from West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh, Odisha, Bihar, Maharashtra and Chhattisgarh.

A union leader said many workers did not obtain 12 kg of rice and 500 rupees, as they do not have ration cards or any other identity cards. As there are no records of workers employed in the unorganized sector, and in the absence of a monitoring system, he said there was room for corruption by officials at the field level.

He said that even those who received 12 kg of rice cannot expect to survive on rice alone. They don't have other cooking essentials and many face pressure from landlords to pay the rent, he said.

It would have been better to turn community centers and function rooms into relief camps for these workers and organize food for them, in addition to ensuring health checks to contain the possible spread. This has not been done, said the Center for Indian Trade Unions (CITU). ) Telangana Secretary General M. Sai Babu told IANS.

He alleged that the government's approach to dealing with the problems of migrant workers is inhumane.

In some places they have been left to the mercy of employers. Some employers even force them to work in violation of the closing rules, he said.

He said that according to guidelines issued by the state government it should have provided funds for migrant workers from the State Disaster Fund.

However, the state government claimed that migrant workers are being well cared for. It is coordinating with some construction companies to secure food, clean water and other facilities near construction sites in Hyderabad.

On Monday, Cabinet Minister K.T. Rama Rao visited few of those camps in Hyderabad and interacted with the workers.

Rama Rao, the Prime Minister's son, visited a camp in Gachibowli, where some 400 workers have been kept. They are mostly from Odisha, Bengal and Bihar. He advised them to take every precaution during the shutdown and tried to cheer them up in the hope that the crisis would end soon.