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Bengal migrant workers 'stuck' in TN on roadside without food, shelter: Help sought

By Our Representative 
A senior West Bengal-based civil rights leader has drawn the attention of the Tamil Nadu government towards 13 “helpless conditions of migrant labourers” stuck in the midst of the current pandemic in far away Tamil Nadu, pointing out, Apurba Biswas (mobile number 8388982951) and 12 others of different bordering villages of North 24 Pargana, West Bengal, who are the sole bread winners of their family and employees of Nahi Construction Private Ltd, are “stuck" in a roadside in Madurai.
Kirity Roy, secretary, Banglar Manabadhikar Suraksha Mancha (MASUM), and national convenor Programme Against Custodial Torture and Impunity (PACTI), in a letter to the principal secretary, home, Tamil Nadu, said, these workers are currently staying put off “34 A Utchaparamedu, Iyyar Bunglow, Madurai-14” on the road, the reason being, the “the contractor fled away and the construction company drove them out.”
“Currently, the conditions they are living in is detrimental to the precautionary guidelines to be maintained in fighting Covid-19 which calls for immediate steps to free these people from such a condition”, Roy said in the letter, pointing out, these workers were first contacted by Mintu Pal, residing at Gobordanga Sarkarpara, North 24 Parganas (Mobile No 8967996998) in January to work in the Tamil Nadu constructing company, and in February they joined and started working.
Roy complained, the construction company and the contractor never paid them for their work. Only every Saturday the contractor would pay them for their meals and other expenses, and from the last week the contractor, without giving them a single penny, “ran away after taking whole amount of money from the construction company.”
“The people of the construction company have evicted them from the place where they used to live. They have been starving for the last four or five days and have been lying on the side of the road. Now they are staying on the roadside of 34 A, Utchaparamedu, Iyyar Bunglow, Madurai-14, Tamil Nadu without getting any basic needs and singe amount of money”, the letter informed the official.
Giving the names of 13 persons who are stuck in Tamil Nadu, Roy said, “The Central and State governments have been trying hard to collaboratively fight this pandemic from the last year and have issued guidelines to take strict precautionary measure in order to completely eradicate Covid-19 pandemic”, regretting, despite this, these migrant labourers “are still struggling for food and shelter in an unknown State where they were cheated by the contractor and construction company.”
Asking the Tamil Nadu government to take to take “appropriate action to help the victims to avail the train and return back home safely”, the letter said, they should be “immediately provide them proper food and drinking water as they have been completely starving for few days.” It added, “As the families are solely dependent on the victims, the liability lies on the government to provide economic aid to the family during this period.”
The letter demanded stern action should be taken against the Nahi Construction Company, which allegedly “did not show any human attitude towards these migrant labourers”, insisting, ,Mintu Pal, contractor, should be immediately booked and prosecuted “under proper penal provisions and directed to pay them for working in the construction company for last four months.”

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