Odisha: Migrants Flock In Through Sea To Avoid Quarantine

After tightening its guard at airports, railway stations and interstate borders to check the influx of migrant workers, the Odisha government has now stepped up patrolling along its coastal borders to ensure zero violation of its strict entry rules. It has been observed that hordes of migrant workers returning to their native places in Odisha are taking the sea route to enter to avoid mandatory quarantine regulations.

To keep a tight check, the government has deployed 18 teams of marine police stations on the coastline. It has also formed the Sagar Rakshyak Dal, comprising of volunteers from local communities, to keep an eye for outsiders.

“Our men are on the job. Personnel of the 18 marine police stations have intensified patrolling along the coastline as well as fishing centres. Thirteen high-speed motorboats have been given to the marine police. Home guards have been specifically asked to check boats and travellers. Unauthorized vessels in the sea would be seized,” additional director general of police (coastal security) Pranabindu Acharya said.

The Sagar Rakshyak Dals have been constituted under the supervision of each marine police station across the state, to help the police identify unauthorised entrants in the sea waters bordering Odisha. Most of the volunteers inducted into the community-driven teams belong to the fishing community. Though strict laws have been put in place that requires road/rail/air travellers to produce a final vaccination certificate or a negative RT-PCR test, no such laws have been established for those treading the marine route.

“During last year’s lockdown, we had witnessed a number of fishing boats carrying stranded migrants from Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Tamil Nadu coming to Ganjam and Kendrapada districts. We have to remain alert this time,” another police officer said.

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