Fear of lockdown re-grips migrant labourers of Jharkhand, control room receive high number of distress calls


Ranchi: As the country is witnessing a nationwide surge in COVID-19 cases, the migrant labourers of Jharkhand are fear-stricken in the anticipation of another lockdown.

In view of helping these migrant workers, the Jharkhand government had set up a control room to cater to their requirements. According to officials at the control room, there has been a drastic increase in the number of phone calls received by them. A large section of these migrant labourers are working in states where partial lockdown has been announced to contain the spread of the virus.

Speaking to ANI, head of control room, Shikha Pankaj said, “We are getting many calls from migrant labourers. They are fear-stricken and not able to make decisions. Some migrants have reported they have returned. Most calls are being received from Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh and Delhi.”

There is a sense of panic and the workers are afraid of losing their means of livelihood to the pandemic again. Last year’s lockdown has instilled a fear of similar hardships, she said.

Pankaj added: “They want to know about the possibility of complete lockdown. If it is going to be enforced, how the state government is planning to provide them facilities.”

Stating the authority’s continuous efforts to curb this state of panic among the migrant workers, she further said, “We are continuously counselling them that there’s no need to panic. We are convincing them that the government is making strategy and they will be brought back if stuck somewhere.”

Sandeep, who monitors distress calls, said, “We are telling them to stay wherever they are if their respective companies are providing facilities because lockdown like before is not going to happen. Therefore, they should adhere to the guidelines issued by the local authorities. Nevertheless, if they feel an urgency to come, they must avail the facilities given by the local government. And labourers are returning too.”

The Jharkhand government has six landline and five WhatsApp numbers to assist the migrant labourers. The number are 0651-2481055, 0651-2480058, 0651-2480083,06512482052, 0651-2481037, 0651-2481188. WhatsApp helpline numbers are as follows: 9470132591, 9431336427, 9431336398, 9431336472, 9431336432.

The state recorded 2,844 new COVID-19 cases and 29 related deaths on Tuesday and currently has 17,155 active cases. (ANI)