Soon after Arunachal Pradesh went into lockdown on March 23 and the subsequent nationwide lockdown in the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic, mass exodus of migrant labourer population unofficially quoted to be over a lakh has brought the Itanagar Capital Region to a virtual standstill. This is indicative of the state’s total dependence on migrant labour force.
On a normal day, hordes of labourers line up the streets in and around the Ganga area of the capital Itanagar every morning, waiting to be picked up for the day›s work. Since lockdown, there are no labourers to be found. Migrant labourers have moved to their native towns and their absence is causing economic losses; several key projects are on pause; labour costs have sky rocketed as much as by nearly 50 percent.
It is estimated that more than 50,000 migrants were employed in the state capital itself, excluding the organized sector labourers and the casual workers working in various government departments.
Capital Superintendent of Police, Tumme Amo who is looking after the migrant movement informed that a total of 17800 had left the capital city after the lockdown came into effect. “Above figures comprise workers originally from the neighbouring districts of Assam and there may be thousands who fled without knowledge of the administration using alternate routes via jungles or crossing rivers during the first two phases of the lockdown.”
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