Jobless at home, migrant workers return to cities

Migrant workers
Almost five months after he returned hoe to West Bengal, Ranjan Garu, a migrant worker is back in Bengaluru, working on another project | Federal Photo

About six weeks after the COVID-19 lockdown was imposed, Ranjan Garu from West Bengal was among the thousands of migrant workers without a job or source of income yet to go back home.

While millions like them had taken the road home by foot, Ranjan and about 1,800 other workers were confined inside the work site of a construction firm in Bengaluru.

The government had started special trains called Shramik Special (Labourer Special) but against all logic, their employers asked them to resume work and the BS Yediyurappa-led BJP government in Karnataka cancelled all trains and inter and intra-state buses that would have taken them home.

After uproar from workers and activists, and with the Karnataka High Court’s intervention, the state revoked its decision days later and Ranjan happily boarded the special train home.

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