Give priority to absorbing migrant labourers in state's workforce: Nitish to officials

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Patna, May 6 (PTI) With migrant workers returning to their homes in droves following the hardships they endured during the lockdown, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Wednesday asked his officials to accord priority to their absorption in the state's labour pool.

At a meeting he chaired here to review the coronavirus situation, which has necessitated the lockdown, Kumar said it was essential to conduct a survey to assess the skills possessed by the returnees and they be provided with jobs accordingly once they complete the 21-day mandatory quarantine.

Chief Secretary Deepak Kumar, who headed the team of officials attending the high-level meeting, floated the idea of introducing a mobile app for conducting a skill survey.

The chief minister said all possible measures should be adopted for the economic rehabilitation of the returning migrant workers and also pointed out that schemes like MNREGA had immense potential for generating employment.

The state is home to millions of semi-skilled workers who have fanned out to the farthest corners of the country in search of livelihood. Shortly after the lockdown was imposed on March 25, thousands of such labourers had thronged the Delhi-UP border with the hopes of catching buses to reach home.

A fresh spurt in migrant workers return has begun, this time from across the country, with special trains being run upon the request of the Bihar government which has been reaching out to them through schemes like direct cash transfer and arrangements of food, shelter and medical help, among others, at places where they were stranded.

According to the railways, Bihar tops the country in terms of the number of migrants who have been boarding the Shramik Special trains.

Figures provided by the state government put the number of people returning on Wednesday by 13 trains from Gujarat, Maharashtra, Telangana, Rajasthan and Karnataka at 14,951.

The number is expected to swell to 28,467 on Thursday when 24 trains will be ferrying migrants from these states, besides Kerala and Haryana.

The chief minister also directed officials to be sensitive towards feedbacks they receive from the returnees and act swiftly on any complaints so that better delivery of governments schemes were ensured. PTI NAC SOM TIR TIR