TN: Migrant workers split on returning home amid Covid spike


Migrant workers employed at the industrial units in Coimbatore and Tiruppur in Tamil Nadu are splitted on returning to their hometowns, as some still prefer to stay back at their workplaces amid the raging second wave of the Covid pandemic.

Tiruppur has around 2.5 lakh migrant workers from West Bengal, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Odisha. However, a large section of them them had returned to their hometowns after the Covid outbreak last year in March, but came back to their workplaces after the situation slightly improved.

Aslam Mohammed, a tailor at a garments unit in Tiruppur, who hails from Uttar Pradesh’s Azamgarh, told IANS: ” Me and my family, including my wife and two small kids, will be staying back here at Tiruppur. Last time, we were in distress as I had lost all my savings while returning to my hometown, but this year the company has organised health screening and diagnosis for the workforce and also provided us free ration. So, I prefer to stay here and continue with my job.”

Rajendra Mahapatra, 34, another worker at a packaging unit in Tiruppur, said: “Last year during the pandemic, we had suffered a lot as there were no trains or private vehicles to take me and my friends back to our hometowns.

We were stranded for many days and finally reached our native place after much difficulties. But this time, I am prepared and will be travelling back to my hometown in Odisha next week and so I have already booked my tickets.”

In Coimbatore also, migrant workers are in a fix on whether to return to their hometowns or stay back at the workplaces. While, some with their families prefer to stay back, others are in a rush to return to their homes.

Selvaraj Manikantan, 26, a worker with a leading pump making unit in Coimbatore, told IANS: “I am here with my wife and a young child. If we travel now, we might get stranded and hence, I am staying back here along with my family members.”

Many of the migrant workers have booked tickets by air from Coimbatore and Chennai. While some migrant workers prefer to leave by air, as the travel time will be reduced, but some have pulled themselves back from flying because of the high prices of the air tickets.

Sudendra Singh, a worker at a garment unit in Tiruppur, is flying to his hometown in Bhopal.

“The flight charges are quite expensive but I do want to be with my parents and my family. Hence I have booked an air ticket to Bhopal,” the 34-year-old said.