Though thousands of migrant workers from Assam rushed to their home state in the wake of COVID-19 outbreak, many in Kerala decided not to get back home as yet.
A Times of India report on May 20 said that till May 19, nearly 50,000 people from Assam have returned but “not a single one from Kerala returned”. The report said that an estimated 40,000 to 50,000 youths from Assam are employed in the skilled and unskilled sectors in Kerala.
The government machinery in Kerala, including the local panchayats, big hearted employers and merciful locals have won hearts for making the lives of these migrant workers comfortable in the hour of crisis.
The report quoted one migrant worker from Assam, who among hundred others, decided to stay back in Kerala, narrating their situation. “Except for only a few, we are comfortably placed and do not want to go back to Assam. My employer has not asked me to go back home even once. He has paid my dues and also helped me with food. It’s not just me but all his employees from several states,” Dimbeswar Baruah from Dhemaji district of Assam was quoted as saying by TOI.
Baruah had migrated to Kerala in 1996 after a devastating flood ruined his livelihood options back home.
“The Kerala DGP has given his personal phone number to all the workers here so that they can call him for help. The police call us regularly to know about our wellbeing. The locals too have stood by us all the time,” Baruah, who works as a painter and body repairing technician at an automobile servicing centre in Alappuzha district, said.
Manu Dutta, another worker from Lakhimpur district, who was also quoted by the TOI report appreciated the local panchayat for the care.