12,794 migrant workers in AP willing to return home

More than 12,700 migrants from across the country, who had come to work in different sectors in Andhra Pradesh, are ready to go back to their native states as the restrictions on movement during the ongoing coronavirus lockdown have been eased.

The Andhra Pradesh government has set up an inter-state control room in Vijayawada with a helpline number and appointed a nodal officer to ensure hassle-free departure of the migrant workers stranded in the state, a senior official said on Friday.

Also, it has written to Chief Secretaries of all states seeking necessary clearances for sending the migrant workers back to their respective home states.

We have mapped 13,255 migrants working in various sectors in different districts of AP. Of them, 12,794 expressed willingness to return to their home state and only 461 wanted to stay back.

“Accordingly, we have written to the Chief Secretaries for permission to facilitate the migrants journey, state Transport Principal Secretary M T Krishna Babu said.

The government would initiate further action based on the response from various states, he said.

Of the total, as many as 10,696 migrant workers were lodged in government-run relief camps while another 2,098 in camps run by non-governmental organisations.

The highest number of 2,602 migrant workers were from Uttar Pradesh, followed by 1,110 from Bihar, 1,086 from Telangana, 822 from Karnataka, 745 from Madhya Pradesh and 499 from West Bengal, he said.

Most of these workers were engaged in industries, agriculture sector, hotels and restaurants in the state.

We have an exclusive helpline 1902 for these people in case they need any assistance. Senior IRTS officer Arja Srikanth will be the nodal officer under the supervision of Special Chief Secretary Satish Chandra and deal with all inter-state cases, Krishna Babu said.

The state government also mapped 13,060 state residents working in other districts outside their native.

Of these, 8,079 are ready to return home and another 4,981 want to stay back and continue their work. Most of these people are agriculture and industrial workers.

We have appointed the local tehsildars as nodal officers to facilitate movement of these people. All of them are being screened and there have been no positive cases (of coronavirus). We have recommended 14-day community quarantine for such people and made required arrangements, the Principal Secretary said.

After district-wise segregation of these people, special buses of the State Road Transport Corporation would be arranged to send them back home.

Krishna Babu said 12,602 people belonging to Andhra Pradesh were now stranded in various states in the country and they included over 3,300 fishermen in Gujarat.

While the fishermen were already on their way back home, the state government has written to the Chief Secretaries of other states to facilitate the departure of the stranded AP people to their home state.

For these people, we have opened a helpline 0866-2424680 for any assistance. We will conduct a health check and bring them back to the state and so the locals need not have any apprehensions about those returning, Krishna Babu added.

Besides, there were also about 4,000 people, who actually set off on their journey on foot to reach their respective home states.

We have detained them in relief camps right now. AP residents are being sent back to their respective districts.

In the case of outsiders, we are sending details to their native states and working out a plan to send them back, the official said.

People of other states (non-migrants) seeking to go back could register with the inter-state control room so that they could be grouped according to their destination and sent by special buses, he added.