36 J'khand tribal women stranded in Tamil Nadu heading for home

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(Adding detail) Ranchi/Dhanbad, Jun 4 (PTI) Thirty-six tribal women from Jharkhand, who were stranded in Tamil Nadu due to the coronavirus-induced lockdown in the southern state, are returning to their home district of Dumka on Friday with the help of the state government, a senior official said.

The women, hailing from remote areas of the Dumka district, used to work in textile firms in Tamil Nadu.

However, many of them lost their jobs due to the COVID-19 situation and were stranded there with no means to return home.

Speaking to PTI on the issue, Chief Minister Hemant Soren said, 'The state government is committed to ensuring the safety and honour of Jharkhand's workers across the country and even abroad.' 'Since last year's migrant crisis, all the district administrations have been instructed to act proactively in cases of emergency and extend support to ensure the return of the workers,' he added.

Dumka Deputy Commissioner Rajeshwari B said, 'As soon as we got information about tribal migrant workers from our district getting stranded in Tiruppur, we ensured their return with the help of the Chief Minister's Office and non-profit organisations. The women have reached Dhanbad and are on their way to Dumka.' Dhanbad district transport officer (DTO) Om Prakash, who received them at Dhanbad, said all 36 females reached here in the morning at 10.30 am by Alleppey Express.

After conducting COVID-19 test, they were served food packet and sent to Dumka by three special busses under supervision of a magistrate and force, the official said.

Distance between Dhanbad and Dumka is around 131 km.

'In the test all women came negative. Now at Dumka, district administration after completing COVID guidelines process would decide to send them in quarantine or their respective house', said the DTO.

The women said they had been working in a factory in Tirussoor of Tamil Nadu for last three months. They got stranded after factory got them seated from work 15 days ago in the wake of second wave of coronavirus pandemic lockdown.

'Having got not any means to return to Dumka, we made video clippings and sent these to Jharkhand government for help.

'Surprisingly Jharkhand chief minister Hemant Soren took cognisance of our plight and arranged the special coach to return', said Rubi Hansda, one of the women.

The women said they did not face any problem for food and residence after being shunted out from work.

'Since there was no worth in staying after losing job in factory,we decided to return Dumka till normalcy (COVID cases controlled) and will then go back to Tamil Nadu, one of them said.

Besides senior officials of Dhanbad district administration, Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) Tundi MLA Mathura Prasad Mahto had also reached Dhanbad railway station in the morning to receive the women.

The MLA met each of them personally and offered to provide help.

'Chief minister is sensitive on these matters. As he got information about these girls he personally took interest and arranged special coach for bringing them back', said Mathura Mahto.

Dumka DC said the women after completion of their isolation, they will be tested again and then allowed to return to their homes if reports return negative.

The Jharkhand government had last month rescued 26 migrant workers from the state stranded in Nepal due to a coronavirus-induced lockdown in the Himalayan country. The government had arranged special bus to bring them back from Nepal border.

Last year after COVID-19 first lockdown,the Jharkhand government had ensured that the first 'special train' transported about 1,200 workers from Telangana to Hatia in Ranchi district.

The textile clusters in Tamil Nadu, are facing hardships due to lockdowns and a steep hike in yarn prices, forcing many to minimise output. PTI CORR NAM SNS SNS