38 J'khand tribal women stranded in Tamil Nadu reach home

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(Adding details;updating figure of returnee women) Ranchi, Jun 4 (PTI) Thirty-eight tribal women from Jharkhand, who were stranded in Tamil Nadu due to the coronavirus-induced lockdown in the southern state, returned 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 like Masalia, Shikaripada and Raneshwar, used to work in textile firms in Tamil Nadu.

However, many of them lost their jobs due to the COVID-19 situation and were held up 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.

Meanwhile, Chief Minister's Office said all 38 women underwent rapid antigen tests (RAT) and have been quarantined after the health department prepared a database for all women at Dumka Indoor Stadium.

The migrant workers will be put up at Hijla Quarantine Centre and for seven days and will undergo tests again before they are allowed to go to their respective villages.

Savitri Turi, one of the migrant workers said, 'It is hard to believe that we have reached our home. The Chief Minister had assured us that we will reach home and he sticked to his promise. This shows his sensitivity towards us...We could reach home without any hassles. We extend thanks to him.' The women, who had gone in a group, 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.

Chief Minister Soren directed Dumka officials to ensure work for the migrant workers.

Dumka Deputy Commissioner Rajeshwari B said they will be provided work as per thier skills.

Dumka DC 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. We ensured transporation for them once they reached Dhanbad Railway station.' Dhanbad district transport officer (DTO) Om Prakash, who received them at Dhanbad, said the women had reached Dhanbad 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.

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.

'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.

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 Jharkhanbd government had airlifted 60 migrant workers hailing from the state from Ladakh during nationwide lockdown in May last year.

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 NAM SNS SNS