The Bihar Post

Poor migrants: Spurned outside, spurned in their home too!

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PATNA—Migrant workers kept at various quarantine centres in Bihar are angrily protesting denial or supply of substandard foods, potable water, low hygiene level and other missing basic facilities.

In the past four days, around a dozen incidents of angry protests have been reported from across the state, raising question mark over the government’s claim of making all arrangements at the quarantine centres.

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The returning migrants are angry at the fact that while they were made to undergo ordeals during lockdown and treated shabbily by the employers and the local residents alike, the treatment being meted out to them in the home state was no better either.

They said they would have been rather content with eating half bread at home saying the arrangements made at the quarantine centre were far from satisfactory and threaten to land them in trouble more than helping them in distress.

“We reached our home after facing a lot of troubles on way but are being treated like animals,” complained Amit Kumar kept at a quarantine centre in Madanpur block of Aurangabad district.

“We rushed to the toilet in the morning but found the tap dry while we are not allowed to go out in the open to meet nature’s call. None is looking into our problems,” Amit added.

Unlike him, there are many others whose patience has run out and they are angrily protesting, demanding that they be provided basic amenities so that they could stay there for 21 days or they should be allowed to go home.

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On Friday, angry migrant workers protested at a quarantine centre in Banka district and looted foods enraged over not being served food on time.

As the whole situation went chaotic, the police resorted to mild caning to control the mob of protesters, leaving several injured.

Similar protests were reported from Nawada district on Wednesday when the labourers shouted slogans demanding food and water. Such protests have been reported from everywhere.

Earlier this week, more than 20 persons fled from a quarantine centre in Katihar after breaking lock of the main gate. They went on the rampage after they were delayed food for long and when it was served, it lacked quality.

A study conducted by Hindustan, a local Hindi newspaper, says majority of the quarantine centres in Bihar lack basic facilities while poor hygiene level remains a matter of serious concerns.

“At many centres, there is no facility to cook food and the labourers are compelled to sleep on the floor as there is no bed,” says the report.

According to an official report, more than 27 lakh migrant workers from Bihar are stranded across various States of the country.

Experts now wonder what will happen if all of them return home.

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