Over 55,000 Workers Return To Odisha After Centre’s Nod

Over 55,000 people, including migrant workers, students, professionals, and those on pilgrimage, have made their return to Odisha within ten days of the Centre’s nod to approve of inter-state travel. Immediately upon return, almost all have been placed in institutional quarantine facilities.

As per official tally, an estimated 23,700 people returned to the state by availing of the ‘Shramik Special’ trains being run by the Indian Railways. Over 25,000 workers came back to the state via buses, while 6000 others hailed other modes of transport to reach the state.

Most of the returnees had started their journey from Surat in Gujarat, and have been sent to quarantine facilities in Ganjam. As of today, Ganjam has 137 confirmed cases and is an active hotspot. Kendrapada, Balasore, Jajpur, Bhadrak, and Balangir also witnessed a humongous influx of workers over the last week.

Subrato Bagchi, the state’s chief spokesperson for COVID-19 management, said, “Despite the increase in the number of positive cases after the return of the migrants, especially in Ganjam, the state government has adopted a very balanced approach on their return from different states.”

Around 92% of the returnees were found to be engaged in the informal sector, and most had lost their jobs. Bagchi mentioned that the state government had made special arrangements for all the returnees in 6,798 gram panchayats under the state, where they have to be quarantined for a minimum of 21 days.

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