Regular-article-logo Tuesday, 03 October 2023

In a first, state flies in 60 migrants from Leh

Hemant, who personally planned and monitored rescue mission, welcomes workers at airport with roses

Our Correspondent Ranchi Published 29.05.20, 05:36 PM
Jharkhand chief minister Hemant Soren meets the migrant workers arriving from Leh at Birsa Munda Airport in Ranchi on Friday

Jharkhand chief minister Hemant Soren meets the migrant workers arriving from Leh at Birsa Munda Airport in Ranchi on Friday Picture by Manob Chowdhary

In a first, Jharkhand government airlifted 60 migrant workers, stranded in Leh, to Ranchi in a chartered SpiceJet flight on Friday in an initiative personally monitored by chief minister Hemant Soren.


Soren welcomed the migrants with red roses at Birsa Munda Airport in Ranchi on Friday evening. Maintaining the social distancing norms, he interacted with them at the airport and offered to provide all possible support to them.

The workers were given food and water at the airport, from where they left for their respective districts in buses, said officials in the chief minister’s office.

'Our workers are spread across the country, and we are committed to rescuing them,' said Hemant. 'Today, our migrants have returned from Leh, Laddakh. Very soon, our migrant workers from Andaman and Nicobar will also be flown back to Jharkhand,' he added.

The rescued migrants are mostly from Santhal Pargana – a region that is said to be the ruling party, Jharkhand Mukti Morcha's (JMM) stronghold.

According to a close aide of Hemant, the migrants had reached out to the chief minister over microblogging website Twitter and sought help on May 10. The state government decided to conduct the rescue operation on its own after the Centre did not respond to its plea for helping the stranded migrants, he added.

'The entire rescue operation was planned under the supervision of the chief minister. We were helped by social activists and journalists from Leh,' said the chief minister's aide, who has been involved in the rescue operation.

On Thursday, around 180 stranded migrants were flown to Ranchi from Mumbai in an AirAsia flight. The travel was funded by the alumni of National Law School, Bangalore. However, the entire expense of Friday’s flight from Leh to Ranchi – more than Rs 8 lakh– was borne by the Jharkhand government, officials said.

The migrants, who returned home on Friday, were working in a Border Roads Organisation (BRO) project in Leh. They were provided food and ration by the Leh administration until they were airlifted on Friday morning, the officials added.

At a time when migrant workers are reportedly covering miles on foot to reach home, this rescue effort by Jharkhand is one of the rare positive happenings for migrants in India. Over a dozen Jharkhand migrants have died in a road accidents in Uttar Pradesh while returning home during the lockdown, while many have fallen prey to COVID-19 infection.

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