After the nation-wide lockdown was announced in late March, nearly three months ago, most of the migrant workers in the country were left jobless. With no means of transport available, migrants resorted to walking and cycling thousands of kilometres back home.
Eventually, the central government arranged for Sharmik Special trains, which carried several thousands of migrant workers back to their respective hometowns.
However, it has been increasingly difficult to earn a living in the villages, and since most of the migrant workers are used to construction work, survival back home is becoming challenging without any job.
But recently, as the state entered its "Mission Begin Again," the migrant workers have started returning to Maharashtra in search of work and earning a livelihood.
However, the family members of these workers have been reluctant to send the men back to Maharashtra, as it is the worst-affected state by COVID-19. One of the migrant workers deboarding at Lokmanya Tilak Terminus(LTT), Mumbai, on Thursday, said to The Indian Express, "Our families were reluctant to let us return. But we don't have a business of our own, we'll be able to eat only when we earn."
According to sources, the migrants were working in farms back in the village, but as soon as their contractor called and informed them of job availability in the state, they decided to return to Maharashtra. Although, the fear of contracting the novel coronavirus remains among the workers.
According to media reports, the migrant workers who we boarded at LTT were headed to Shirwal in Satara District. The workers at the construction sites work as masons and plumbers.
Anil Deshmukh, the state Home Minister said, over 15,500 migrant workers are returning to the state daily. According to reports, near 11,500 are returning to Mumbai on a daily basis, whilst the remaining go to Gondia, Nandurbar, Kolhapur, Nagpur and Pune.
The labour experts tell, for migrants to avail financial benefits from central and state governments, the receiving state(s) and source state(s) must ensure to officially register each labourer as soon as they return to their workplace. This is especially beneficial during any emergency and dire situation.