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Bengal government announces aid at hand for migrant workers across the country

Bengal announces steps for labourers’ welfare

Snehamoy Chakraborty And Avijit Sinha Calcutta/Siliguri Published 25.05.23, 06:34 AM
Representational image

Representational image File picture

The Bengal government has announced a slew of measures, including financial assistance, a call centre and offices, to assist around 38 lakh people who work elsewhere in the country and their families during crises.

At the centre of the initiative — billed as the first of its kind in the country — is the recently-constituted West Bengal Migrant Workers’ Welfare Board.


As part of the plan, the Bengal government will set up a round-the-clock assistance centre, and offices at three strategic locations in the country to help migrant workers in distress.

The assistance centre that will be set up in Bengal will function like a call centre. Any migrant worker in distress can call the dedicated number and inform the Bengal government about his or her problems.

“The offices will be set up in Kerala, Maharashtra and Delhi, where dedicated staff will be posted. The employees can reach out to the workers who have reported any problem or crisis,” said a source.

Besides, a portal was introduced for migrant workers to register their names. The portal will help the Bengal government keep tabs on the workers.

All these measures and the financial assistance are part of the welfare scheme announced by the board for the migrant workers. “The welfare scheme is the first of its kind initiative taken by any state in the country to help migrant workers,” claimed a Bengal government official.

Under the welfare scheme, a migrant worker who has met with an accident and became physically challenged will get a cash assistance from Rs 50,000 to Rs one lakh.

If a worker dies a natural death, his/her family will receive a compensation of Rs50,000, which, in case of accidental death, will be Rs two lakh.

“After such incidents, if the family intends to bring the mortal remains to their native place, they will get Rs 25,000 as transportation cost. In case the last rites are conducted at the place of work, Rs 3,000 will be provided to the relatives,”said an official.

According to estimates available with the Union ministry of labour and employment — calculated during the Covid-19 pandemic, the highest number of migrant workers in the country hailed from Uttar Pradesh, followed by Bihar and Bengal.

A senior government official in Calcutta said the total number of migrant workers from Bengal would be around 38 lakh. They work in states like Kerala, Karnataka, Telangana, Maharashtra and Jammu and Kashmir. Another five lakh go abroad, mainly to Gulf countries.

“During the lockdown,we had to take home around 42 lakh people from different parts of the country. Among them were 38 lakh migrant workers. We have to track them down and make a proper database,” he said.

Samirul Islam, the president of the Bangla Sanskriti Mancha, a platform that has been working for the welfare of migrant workers, has appreciated the decisions. “Weare very happy that the state has formed the welfare board.The other steps which the government has planned also deserve appreciation,” he said.

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