Bhubaneswar: The Odisha government on Wednesday appealed to the people of the state not to ill-treat the migrant workers who have returned but to accept them as brothers and sisters.
A total of 35,540 migrant workers or Non-Resident Odias (NROs) have so far returned to Odisha, the state government said Wednesday.
The government issued such a statement as many people in the state feel the returnees are "liability" on the state after a section them violated quarantine norms and some tested positive for COVID-19, an official said.
"Please do not look down the returnees as they return from the highly COVID infected states. Though some of them tested positive for the virus, they can be treated properly," said state governments COVID-19 spokesperson Subroto Bagchi.
Odia brothers and sisters are returning to state very day since May 3, Bagchi said, adding that 7,451 people have returned to Odisha on Wednesday. "So far 35,540 Odias have returned to Odisha. Returnees are coming by train/bus and other vehicles," Bagchi said during the daily briefing.
The spokesperson also said that the returnees have the same rights as others permanently staying in Odisha. "Rather, they (returnees) have more rights on the states resources for being in distressed condition due to lockdown. The returnees are no less than any citizen," he said.
Justifying the state governments decision to bring back the Odias stranded in other parts of the country due to the lockdown, Bagchi said that it is duty and responsibility of the administration to ensure that all the people, both those staying in the state and others who live in other places having their roots here, remain healthy.
Keeping in view the possibility of returnees being infected with novel coronavirus, Bagchi said they have been put in mandatory 14-days quarantine.
Besides, the government has taken adequate measures to extend treatment to the affected people while protecting those not affected by the virus, he said, adding that as a precautionary measure, all the returnees are stamped and kept in either home quarantine or the centres opened at the 6,798 panchayats.
Panchayati Raj secretary D K Singh said the state has already set up 12,000 temporary medical centres (TMCs) across the gram panchayats and kept ready at least 5 lakh beds for use of returnees. "The returnees are being served with quality food, separate beds, usable personal kits apart from health treatment," Singh said.
Meanwhile, the state government has increased food expenditure for migrant labourers kept in relief camps to Rs 120 per adult and Rs 100 per child.
A video went viral on social medial which showed the returnees performing exercises on the premises of a quarantine centre at Kukudakhandi village under Baghalati Gram Panchayat in Ganjam district.
In the video, an instructor is imparting workout training to the inmates of the quarantine facility. They were doing the workouts while maintaining social distancing and discipline. A similar scene was also witnessed at another temporary medical camp (TMC) at Talagaon village.