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180 migrants airlifted from Andamans | Ranchi News

Ranchi: In its second evacuation of migrants by air on Saturday, Jharkhand government brought back 180 workers stranded in Andaman & Nicobar Islands in a chartered flight. More than 100 people from the state were still stuck on the island but the government assured to arrange more flights to bring them back. On Friday, Jharkhand became the first state to airlift 60 migrants, all natives of Dumka district, from Leh.
An Indigo flight hired for Rs 21 lakh departed from Port Blair at 3:30pm and landed at the Birsa Munda International Airport here at 6pm. Majority of those who returned hailed from Santhal Pargana division while a few belonged to Simdega and other districts. The returnees were served dinner before sending them off to their respective district through special buses named “Samman Raths” arranged by the government.
State water resources minister Mithilesh Thakur, who received the migrants at the airport, said, “Jharkhand will continue to bring back people from hard to reach areas through flights in the coming days. We are committed to rescuing all those who want to return. So far, about five lakh people were brought back through trains and buses.”
He said the state government was the first to write to the Centre to run special trains and to airlift people stuck in Leh, Andamans and northeastern states. He added that the government is also mapping the migrants based on their skills, so that the government can absorb them into different jobs to help them get livelihood here.
Chief minister Hemant Soren, who couldn’t turn up at the airport due to other engagements, said in a communiqué that the process for Saturday’s evacuation was operationalized in the last 48 hours through co-ordination by various state departments with authorities in New Delhi and Andamans.
He said, “I welcome all those who have returned and we will bring every stranded native of this state. I appeal to everyone to have patience.”
An elated Jitendra Malto, from Littipara in Pakur who returned in the flight said, “I worked as a cleaner and helper in a transport agency, but lost the job due to the lockdown. We sustained with great difficulty since the lockdown began. I am happy to return.”
Many others, however, rued that they were left behind. Talking to TOI from Andamans, a migrant from Simdega, Ashwin Dungdung, said, “We got a call in the morning to reach the airport. When we reached there at 10.30am, we were denied entry, saying we don’t have tickets. I don’t know why we are left behind.”
Another migrant, Sushil Tete, said, “I don’t know the name of the caller, but he said he was calling from Ranchi and asked us to come to the airport. Once we reached there, many of us were asked for tickets which we didn’t have. There are at least over 100 such people from Khunti, Gumla and other districts who were left behind. I don’t know if we will be able to return anytime soon.”

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