S Murari May 08 05 2020A batch of around 2,500 migrant workers from Rajasthan left Chennai by a private bus to their native places on Wednesday.They had been working in stainless steel vessel making units and garment shops in Sowcarpet and surrounding areas in north Chennai
The local Rajasthan Association hired private buses and vans to take these guest workers home. They had lost their jobs as business was hit by prolonged lockdown following Covid epidemic.
The association and the Bharathiya Seva Sangam coordinated with the Tamil Nadu Government and got transit passes for these vehicles.
Besides guest workers, stranded medical tourists were also put in the buses and vans bound for Rajasthan, Odisha and Madhya Pradesh.
Nearly 1.5 lakh natives of Rajasthan and Odisha are working in steel making units in Sowcarpet and adjoining Broadway.
Lalit Kumar Jain of stain steel merchants association says as business is down, " We found it difficult to pay salary and food to these workers and asked them to go home for now". He has said he paid half of the salary to his workers though his unit is shut since the first lockdown in March.
Bitu Madi from Jodhpur who has been working in a garment shop in Sowcarpet for eight years, says most shops have paid their employees 50 per cent salary to their employees and have promised to pay the rest once they reopen.
Ajai Lal from Siriyari town in Rajasthan visited his family in November last year. His relatives back home understand he cannot visit them often. "This time my family was anxious to see me because of Covid.".
Vinod Jain of the Rajasthan Association of Tamil Nadu says these workers are in a trauma."Unless we send them home now, we won't be able to get them back".
‘He is right.’ Madi who has spent his salary to buy the bus fare says"I shall surely return once shops reopen"