Over 1.73 lakh workers returned Assam during lockdown: Govt

Guwahati: The Assam government on Monday said that a total of 1,73,363 workers returned to the state on account of the national lockdown imposed to contain spread of the COVID-19 virus.

In a written reply to a query from Congress MLA Roselina Tirkey, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Chandra Mohan Patowary told the Assam Assembly that the government has information of the workers only but there is no data of other returnees during the pandemic.

“As per information from the Assam police, 1,73,363 workers have returned to Assam in view of the lockdown in the country. The government does not have the data of the youths,” Patowary said on behalf of Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal, who also holds the Home portfolio.

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To a separate question on their employability by Congress member Nandita Das, the minister said more than 30,000 workers have been issued job cards, of whom over 11,000 have been provided with works under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA).

“On the other hand, 1,852 persons have been engaged as rural masons in construction of houses under the PMAY-G scheme,” he added.

The government is also taking steps to engage the returned workers in skilled and semi-skilled jobs in projects funded by the 14th Finance Commission grants, Patowary said.

Out of the 1,73,363 workers coming in 117 Shramik Special trains, the highest number returned from Tamil Nadu (37,881), followed by Karnataka (33,426), Kerala (23,027) and Maharashtra (21,665).

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Only one worker returned from Lakshadweep while 25 came back homes from Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Patowary informed the House.

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