How 60 migrants stuck in Leh were brought to Jharkhand

Coronavirus Lockdown: How 60 migrants stranded in Leh were brought to Jharkhand

Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren welcoming 60 migrants, stranded in Leh, at Birsa Munda Airport in Ranchi on Friday night. (Credit: DH Photo)

When the IndiGo flight carrying 60 migrants from Jharkhand, who were stranded in Leh-Ladakh since March, touched the tarmac of Birsa Munda Airport in Ranchi on Friday late night, John Hansda heaved a sigh of relief.

The 25-year-old migrant, John, was one of the 60 workers from Dumka (Jharkhand) stuck at Batalik-Kargil, Leh, where they were working for Border Roads Organisation (BRO) but got stranded once their work was over shortly before the lockdown was announced.

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It was John who contacted the Jharkhand government and sought intervention of Chief Minister Hemant Soren in the second week of May. Soren on May 12 wrote to Home Minister Amit Shah for special permission to fly these migrants in a chartered flight. However, when this could not fructify, the Jharkhand Chief Minister decided to bring all the 60 workers by a commercial flight once the flights resumed operations on May 25.

“These workers were flown from Leh to Delhi by SpiceJet flight on Friday. And from Delhi, they were flown to Ranchi by an Indigo flight. Chief Minister Hemant Soren was personally there to receive them at the airport,” Deputy Commissioner of Dumka, Rajeshwari B, told DH on Saturday.

These migrants, after arriving at Ranchi, left for their home district Dumka in separate buses and reached home on Saturday morning.

“…Special thanks to Divisional Commissioner/Secretary UT Ladakh, DG, BRO and local BRO officers, SpiceJet and Indigo teams for their able support,” tweeted Hemant Soren after the stranded migrants reached Jharkhand.

Sources in Jharkhand said the Soren regime paid Rs 8 lakh for flying these migrants from Leh to Jharkhand. “This is arguably the first time in Indian history that a State Government paid all the air travel expenses of so many migrants at a time,” said another official, adding that Soren was also the first Chief Minister who received over a thousand migrants who came from Telangana to Jharkhand in the first Shramik Special train in the late night of May 1 at Hatia Railway Station, 25 km from Ranchi.  

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