17 migrant laborers tried to cycle to their hometowns in Odisha, Kerala Chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan said, but were sent back to their camps by state police.
“They have been assured that as soon as trains start running again [to Odisha], they will be sent back,” said the Chief Minister.
Odisha has so far taken a few thousand migrant laborers back from Kerala by arranging to receive trains from the South Indian state.
A total of around 40,000 migrant laborers have left Kerala on around 30 trains so far.
However, there are still an estimated 4 lakh migrant laborers belonging to states like West Bengal, Assam, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Odisha in Kerala.
Separately, a group of around 300 migrant workers from Uttar Pradesh reached the Kannur railway station today morning and protested the lack of trains to their state.
CM Vijayan has, however, refused to let migrant workers leave by foot or cycle, and has instead arranged thousands of camps where these workers can get free food and accommodation.
The chief minister, however, has expressed his desire that the home states of these laborers be more willing to receive trains carrying these migrant workers, as these people are anxious to be with their family back home.
“We are not able to send them because it requires the [receiving] state to notify the railway that they are willing to take them,” he pointed out recently.
Most of the migrant workers have been without work for two months, and are also worried about the safety of their loved ones back home.
The Kerala government too is anxious to avoid any breakdown in law and order that may arise from the efforts of these migrant laborers to gain the attention of their state governments.
Meanwhile, other states have allowed migrant workers to set off on foot or cycles to their home states like Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, leading to a humanitarian crisis on the national highways in Central and North India.
Several of these migrants have been crushed under the wheels of speeding vehicles, while some others have lost their lives to exhaustion, hunger and heat.