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Migrant returnees face ostracism in coronavirus fear

Families of four of the 10 workers have not been allowed to buy essentials or medicines from village shops
The family members said the problem started the day they had entered the village on May 7. The motor van driver, who had brought them to the village, faced angry villagers.
The family members said the problem started the day they had entered the village on May 7. The motor van driver, who had brought them to the village, faced angry villagers.
(Shutterstock)

Snehamoy Chakraborty   |   Burdwan   |   Published 14.05.20, 12:35 AM

Families of four of the 10 migrant workers, who had walked from Bihar’s Raxaul to Jhajha and were brought back to their homes in East Burdwan by the Bengal government, are allegedly facing ostracism for fear of coronavirus outbreak.

The Telegraph had on May 3 reported the plight of the migrant labourers and their painful journey back home from Raxaul, which is 650km away from Burdwan.

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Ever since they returned homes in East Burdwan, family members of four migrant workers have not been allowed to buy essentials or medicines from village shops and the milkman has stopped buying milk from their farm. Villagers are refusing to buy vegetables produced on their land.

“We had struggled to return home and now 15 of our family members are in crisis. Shopowners are closing their outlets when our family members are going to buy essentials from,” said Rajesh Debnath. This has created shortage of essential commodities for the families.

Rajesh, who lives at Bhatshala village in Prubasthali 1 block, has approached the local panchayat members and block development officer to resolve the issue.

Dipak, his cousin, said people were spreading rumours that they were moving in the area with high fever. “It’s a total lie,” he said.

The family members said the problem started the day they had entered the village on May 7. The motor van driver, who had brought them to the village, faced angry villagers.

“We have a small land on which we cultivate vegetables. After my nephews returned, no one in the market is ready to buy our vegetables. We have three cows and we used to earn some money by selling milk. But the milkman has stopped buying milk from us,” said Khokan Debnath, uncle of Rajesh.

Jahannagar gram panchayat chief and Trinamul leader Subhas Ghosh admitted that the families of the migrant workers were facing some trouble. Ghosh has started a campaign in the area asking people not to ostracise the migrant workers.

“Complaints of ostracising people are reaching us from various areas. People apprehend Covid outbreak at the villages,” said Ghosh.

BDO Nitish Bala said that he would look into the allegations of the migrant workers.



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