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Migrant workers given food, shelter can’t be called stranded: Goa industry

Panaji,  Migrant workers in Goa who have been provided shelter and food cannot be considered as “stranded”, Goa’s top business stakeholders body said on Tuesday in a letter to Chief Minister Pramod Sawant.

The letter by the president of the Goa Chamber of Commerce and Industry Manoj Caculo also said that giving migrant workers a “free ride” to their respective home states, would leave their employers in Goa high and dry.

“In fact, it has been brought to our notice that many of these migrant workers were provided with shelter and food and wages during the entire period of lockdown and they were not really stranded in the true sense of the word. However, now that they are getting a free ride to their home states, many of these workers have left their employers high and dry and are making their way to their home states,” Caculo said in his letter to Sawant.

The letter also urged the Chief Minister to form a screening committee and a counseling process to try and convince those migrant workers who still have jobs to stay back.

“Our fear is that if they go now, it will take a long time for them or others to return and this will affect the working of many sectors,” the letter states.

According to Sawant, more than 80,000 migrant workers had already registered themselves with government agencies for a passage back home. A majority of the migrant workers hail from Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. The first train ferrying migrant workers out of the state is expected to leave Goa soon, he said.

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