Puducherry Apr 29 (PTI): Territorial Health Minister Malladi Krishna Rao on Wednesday staged a impromptu dharna here, demanding that 13 migrant workers from Yanam region stuck in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh should be permitted to return home within 24 hours or he would quit from his post as Minister.
Sporting a black shirt and pants to mark his protest held on the Assembly premises, he alleged that Lieutenant Governor Kiran Bedi was standing in the way of the workers returning to Yanam.
The 13 residents, including a woman, were working in different places in Hyderabad in neighbouring Andhra Pradesh before getting stranded there in view of the shutdown.
They were migrant workers in these states and wanted to return to Yanam their native place during the ongoing COVID- 19lockdown.
When they reached the inter-state border between Yanam, an enclave of Puducherry in Andhra Pradesh, and Kakinada district they were denied permission to enter their native place and the border points were sealed.
Malladi Krishna Rao had taken the stand that if the workers were not permitted to get into Yanam in the next 24 hours, he would quit the post of minister.
He had also charged Bedi on Tuesday with standing in the way of the return of the workers.
Rao met the Assembly Speaker V P Sivakolundhu before launching his sudden protest.
The efforts of the Chief Minister V Narayansamy and the Speaker to dissuade Rao from going ahead with his protest did not bear fruit and Rao continued his dharna.
Sources said the meeting of the state-level disaster management committee had on Tuesday decided that the workers be permitted to return to Yanam and kept in home quarantine.
But in spite of the efforts of the Chief Minister, the workers continued to remain outside the Yanam region and Rao wanted immediate permission to help them return home.
The Health Minister had also told the officials that he would ensure that the workers were kept in quarantine separately on various premises.
Finding that his plea for the permission to the workers did not cut any ice, he resorted to the dharna even as the Health Department was going ahead with its efforts in coordination with other departments to prevent spread of COVID-19 in the Union Territory. PTI COR NVG NVG