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Uncertain future forces many migrant labourers to leave A.P.

Even as construction activities has begun after the relaxation of the lockdown norms, hundreds of migrant workers belonging to Bihar and Odisha continue to head to their native States from across the State.

Many workers engaged by infrastructure companies in Vijayawada, Rajamahendravaram, Kakinda, Visakhapatnam are not keen to work in Andhra Pradesh as the fear of inadequate livelihood options continue to worry them.

Migrant workers from Odisha, Chhattisgarh and Bihar are seen crossing the checkposts on the A.P.-Odisha border in droves on a daily basis.

Lockdown blues

“We are worried about our future here. We also know that earning livelihood will not be easy in our State. At least, we can work as farm hands there if jobs are not available,” said Ram Kumar from Bihar in Vizianagaram on Tuesday.

He is among 44 persons who hired a lorry to reach their native places.

“We used to earn around ₹8,000 a month and the situation changed after the announcement of the lockdown in March. Most of us have not got any work in the last few months. Managing food and shelter has been a daily struggle for us since then. So we do not have any option other than going home,” said another migrant worker.

The workers strongly feel that the contractors would rather engage more locals as the migrant workers from Andhra Pradesh who were working in Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, Maharashtra and others States have returned home.

Local factor

“With a lot of local workforce available in the State now, what chance we stand to get work regularly. We do not want to risk it. It is better to go home,” said a migrant worker from Odisha. Meanwhile, Vizianagaram Superintendent of Police B. Raja Kumari asked the police officials to allow the migrant workers to continue their journey after a thorough verification.

Verification at border

The documents of vehicles transporting the workers are also being verified. Several people’s organisations are providing food packets to the migrant workers.

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