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Odisha: These Odisha migrant workers in Tamil Nadu are glad to have missed the train by Satyasundar Barik July 28,2020   |  Source: The Hindu

Like several other migrant workers from Odisha, Sumant Naik made innumerable calls throughout May to enquire about a train back home from Perundurai in Erode; he also weighed the costs of returning by bus. Despite several calls, the journey back did not materialise. Now two months later, as the pandemic induced lockdown has eased in Tamil Nadu, 30-year-old Mr. Naik has little time to think of returning home as the spinning mill he works at is humming again.

“The months of April and May were emotionally draining. Everyone wanted to be with their families as if the end of the world was nearing. However, during the past two months, I have not given any thought to my return. I would have been left jobless had I been in my village,” said Mr. Naik, who hails from Keonjhar. Iswari and Bhakta Batsala Das from Jorada village of Odisha’s Ganjam district, who were left stranded in Chennai as they could not board a train home, echo Mr. Naik and are happy in hindsight. “The situation back home is grim. Hundreds of people are testing COVID-19 positive every passing day. People are left with no jobs. We are better off here. At least, our livelihood is protected,” said the couple.

Livelihood hopes

According to civil society organisations and activists, more than 10,000

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Years in Support of Small Scale Fishworkers (1986 - 2018)