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30 Migrant Workers from Murshidabad Trapped in Tamil Nadu Amid Cyclone Havoc

Heavy rains triggered by Cyclone Michaung have resulted in widespread flooding across various areas of Tamil Nadu. Numerous migrant workers from Murshidabad district find themselves stranded in these affected regions. Due to waterlogging, work opportunities have declined, leaving these workers without livelihoods. They endure days of hunger and lack adequate shelter, with some seeking refuge in makeshift palm houses. Financial constraints prevent many from returning home, and the workers are earnestly waiting for conditions to normalize.

Approximately 30 labourers hailing from Hariharpara and Nowda blocks in West Bengal’s Murshidabad district are among those stranded in Tamil Nadu. Their families and relatives express concern about their safe return home.

Cyclonic conditions and heavy rainfall have battered several parts of Tamil Nadu since Sunday. Migrant labourers from Murshidabad had gone to Tamil Nadu seeking employment as masons and labourers. Around 20 labourers from Malopara Padmanabpur village in Hariharpara block currently find themselves stranded in various locations within Tamil Nadu.

Rajibul Sheikh, one of the stranded workers, while recounting his plight, said, “We left our homes for work, but the cyclone has disrupted the entire area. Finding accommodations has been challenging. Presently, four of us are taking shelter in a palm house near the nearest railway station in Tamil Nadu. We’ve been staying here for the past few days, but due to heavy rains, the house is inundated with water. We’ve had no rice for three days, surviving on dry cakes, chanachur, and biscuits. The entire area is submerged, and we’re unable to move elsewhere.”

Masons were earning 800 rupees per day, while labourers were receiving 650 rupees. However, their work ceased abruptly after the cyclone struck, leaving them stranded and unable to fulfil their contractual obligations. Moreover, the workers had taken advance payments from the contractor to travel from home to Chennai. As work ceased four days ago, they are unable to afford meals. Their dire situation prevents them from returning home until the advance payment is settled.

Sohail Sekh, another worker stuck in Tamil Nadu lamented, “I’m unsure how to return home. The lack of electricity due to storms and rains has rendered my mobile phone inoperable, severing contact with my family. They are all worried, just like me. Other workers from our area are also facing similar hardships.”

In the Minambakkam area of Chennai, Akash Mandal, Rahul Sheikh, Ziauddin Sheikh and Hasibul Sheikh from Chandpur Chapatala village in Hariharpara block remain stranded. They’ve sought refuge in a local residence.

“My two sons and son-in-law ventured to Chennai for work, serving as masons for the past two months. Unfortunately, they’ve been stranded since Sunday, awaiting full payment from the employer. Despite their attempts to return home, they are once again trapped,” shared Abdul Rashid Molla, the father of one of the affected workers.

Abu Taher Khan, the Trinamool MP for Murshidabad Lok Sabha Constituency, expressed concern about the labourers and said, “Numerous workers from our district are stranded in Chennai due to work. I have spoken to the officials of the district administration. They are in touch with the Tamil Nadu administration. Necessary measures are being taken.”

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