Labourers losing jobs amid Covid-19 resurgence

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Amritsar: Migrant labourers at Amritsar Railway station
Amritsar: Migrant labourers at Amritsar Railway station

The labourers have started losing jobs amid the Covid-19 resurgence across the country.

Fentus Kumar (29), a native of Bihar’s Khagaria district, came with his group of 45 fellow labourers from Hanumangarh in Rajasthan.

“Since the manufacturing unit where we were working was partially operational so our employer asked us to return to home. The company is not receiving ample amount of work orders, therefore, limited labourers were required,” Fentus said while waiting for Katihar bound train to Khagaria at Patna after reaching from Delhi.

52-year-old Vinod Sharma, who is also part of the group, said: “Once we lost our jobs, there was no reason for us to stay there. Hence, we decided to return. The situation in industrial areas of Hanumangarh was almost similar. Too many labourers lost jobs.”

Bhim Mehta, a native of Saharsa district ,said: “During normal days, the garment factory where we worked was operating 24 hours. Now, due to the night curfew the manufacturing is done only during the day. Therefore, our employer shut the manufacturing unit for the night shift and reduced the numbers of labourers.”

Mehta’s friend Vikas Kumar, who was also employed in the same garment factory, remembering the plight of the last year said: “During the last year’s lockdown, our landlord held us captive inside the room and released us after we paid the room rent for the entire month. We had to walk for 60 km to reach Anand Vihar bus station to board the bus for our village. We not lucky enough to get the bus so we had to further walk till Lucknow. We reached Lucknow after nine days. The UP government had arranged a bus for us till Bihar border.”

“We didn’t want to undergo the same plight this year. Despite possibilities of lockdown have been ruled out but the resurgence of Covid has led to a kind of partial lockdown and the pandemic is even more lethal. So we decided to return before the situation goes beyond our control,” he added.

Mohamad Jabir, a native of Khagaria, who was waiting with his group of labouers on the stairs of foot over bridge at Patna Junction, said: “We were in the construction sector and our average monthly salary was between Rs 16-17 thousand. Amid the fear of Corona, our contractor suspended the work at the construction site and asked us to go back to our homes. Due to uncertainty about the work we came back.”

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