The destiny of many stranded labourers registered online, to go back to their respective states, following the announcement from Goa government to provide them free transport facilities, seems to be not working in their favour as planned. In one such incident, the Karnataka government refused to take back many of their own people into the state due to the lack of identity proof.
According to the reports, Confined to government shelter homes for nearly six weeks, a sense of relief was palpable on the faces of the 60-odd people from Karnataka’s Uttara Kannada district who boarded Kadamba buses for their home-bound journey. However, the joy in anticipation of homecoming was short-lived, as many were forced to return for want of identity documents.
The report said that most of the labourers who were denied entry by Karnataka were taken to Campal in six buses late on Wednesday evening. There was tension in the air for some time before authorities pacified them.
Setting in motion the process of facilitating transportation of migrant labourers to their native places, five Kadamba buses left from Goa, ferrying over 100 natives of Karnataka — 60 from the Navelim shelter home and 48 from Bicholim — up to the Goa border. From the border check-posts, the Karnataka government had made arrangements for further transportation.
Most of the migrant labourers who were left jobless with no money living in the shelter camps made by the state government were eager to go back home to be with their families during the time of crisis following the lockdown entered into the third phase.
According to the reports, most of the migrants were uncertain about their future, as they had made Goa their home for several years, to earn their livelihoods. In South Goa, however, only nine people were allowed to travel across the border, as the rest didn’t possess their Aadhaar cards. South Goa collector Ajit Roy said that the Uttar Kannada administration had made Aadhaar Cards mandatory for the people to return to the state.
The officials said that the Karnataka government made excellent arrangements to receive its people. “A huge pandal was erected, and all necessary arrangements for food and drinking water had been made. A number of bio-toilets were also set up.” Roy told TOI that the state government arranged to ferry the Uttar Kannada natives following a request to that effect from the Uttar Kannada district administration.
Asked if there were any plans to transport others housed in shelter homes in a similar manner, Roy said, “If the accepting state makes any arrangement (of picking them up from the border), we will look into it”.
Meanwhile, Chief minister Pramod Sawant said that the state government was waiting for the Union railway ministry’s permission for trains to start running from Goa to transport migrant workers. “Labourers have registered,” he said. “But until the railways’ ministry gives us permissions for trains to start from here, we cannot finalise anything. The ministry’s decision can come anytime within the next two days.”
Sawant said that those who are being sent out from the state are not being tested. “They are dropped off and the bus is washed,” he said. “Those who want to come to Goa from that particular state will be brought by the same bus.” Meanwhile, a large number of migrant labourers on Wednesday gathered at Margao’s municipal garden, where a facility has been set up by the Margao Municipal Council (MMC) to register to travel to their native places.