Three hundred migrant labourers with permission to board a Shramik Special train from Pune to Madhya Pradesh did not report at departure on Sunday (May 10), and 80 for a train to Uttarakhand on Monday (May 11), with local officials claiming these were “positive” signs due to the reopening of several industries in the region.
An official said 1,172 people had got permission to travel on the train to MP but 300, mostly working in the MIDC area here, did not turn up when it left from Daund station.
“These people have claimed they chose not to move as they were getting work in MIDC areas here. The firms there also know they will suffer if workers move so may have offered
incentives,” said Daund Tehsildar Sanjay Patil.
He said a train which left for Uttarakhand on Monday also had 80 absentees, with all of them claiming there was no need to go back to their native villages as work had started
Pune District Collector Naval Kishore Ram said, “This is actually a positive sign. Opening industries in MIDC areas and giving permission for construction work in non-containment
areas have created a positive atmosphere among labourers. That is why they are preferring to stay back.”
Patil said officials had to call up those on the “waitlist” to ensure the trains did not leave below sanctioned capacity.
Jwala Prasad, one of the 300 who gave the MP train a miss, said he did not move as the plant in Kurmukh MIDC where he worked as an operator had resumed operations.
“I have been living here with my wife and two children for 10 years. We even filed forms to board the Shramik Special but then dropped the plan as work at my company resumed,” he
Earlier in the day, Maharashtra Industries Minister Subhash Desai said some six lakh people employed in various sectors had resumed work amid easing of restrictions in the lockdown in place for the novel coronavirus outbreak.
Interacting with industry representatives, Desai said as many as 25,000 companies in Maharashtra had resumed operations.
“Around 6 lakh people working in these 25,000 firms have got back to work. In western Maharashtra alone, 9,147 industries have been given permission to restart work. Of these, a total of 5,774 have already resumed operations,” he said.
He said no permission for resumption of industries had been given in Mumbai, Thane, Pune and Pimpri Chinchwad as these areas have high number of COVID-19 cases and are in the red zone, adding “we cannot take any risk of restarting work here”.
“Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray is determined to make the entire state a green zone,” he said, and added that sops in power tariffs and loan repayment would be given to ease the burden of industries.
(With inputs from agencies)