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Suryakant Jena

Bhubaneswar: With Covid crisis once again worsening in Surat and most industries shutting down their shutters, the livelihood crisis seems to have come down to haunt lakhs of Odisha migrants who have settled to earn their living in the industrial city of Gujarat.

As Ganjam district in Odisha accounts for a sizeable chunk of Odia people who are residing in Surat, the return of lockdown like harsh restrictions and the fear of rising infections in the second wave of the pandemic have forced thousands to pack their bags on a return journey back to their home State.

The situation has now led to a huge influx of migrants in Ganjam district stoking fears of grave Corona crisis last year that made the district the worst-hit hotspot region of the pandemic in Odisha.

Even though the Odisha government has shut down the intra and inter-state bus operations especially after the enforcement of 14-day lockdown, but operation of train services has helped people return to Odisha.

Hundreds of Surat returnees were seen gathering for transport service at Baramunda bus stand after deboarding at Bhubaneswar railway station today.

Sources said around 17000 migrants have returned o Ganjam in the last few days and the district administration has said that proper home quarantine arrangements have been made for the returnees.

Ganjam Collector Vijay Amruta Kulange who led an exemplary fight in the Covid fightback last year has said that the situation is control this time around. It is worthwhile to mention here that last year, a whopping 7 lakh people had returned to Ganjam district during the lockdown period.

Meanwhile, the Surat Textile Association has closed down all the textile mills in the city for the next 15 days in view of a massive surge in cases of Covid 19 and the restriction has once again jolted a huge setback to the livelihood of lakhs of local Odia residents just months after suffering immeasurable hardships during the first wave of the pandemic.

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