When the primary COVID-19 wave hit India, many migrant workers lost their jobs. Strict lockdowns meant their source of income within the cities was stop overnight, forcing many to maneuver back to their villages.
Nearly a year on, many are still there. Some rural communities believe it might be a blessing in disguise — as they hope returning migrant workers could help breathe new life into their economies.
Several Indian states opened mass vaccination sites on Monday at college grounds, auditoriums, and other facilities, because the government’s free COVID inoculation drive expanded to anyone above 18.
The country has fallen behind on its vaccination program released in January with its target of inoculating a minimum of 300 million people by mid-2021.
So far less than 5% of India’s 1.3 billion population has been fully vaccinated and 280 million have received at least one vaccine dose
Most workers coming to Nashik generally add the development sector or at factories. “The workers from UP, Bihar, Jharkhand, West Bengal , Madhya Pradesh and Odisha exerting and do whatever they’re told.
They also tend to select up the trade faster. The industries rely on this workforce. So when one worker says he features a relative who is ready to work , we call them,” said Sanjay Patel, an industrialist from Sinnar.
It is the same in the construction sector. “These workers can work in highrise buildings — it is a sort of their specialty. When they had returned to their hometowns, there was a shortage of such workers. The trend has started to reverse,” said Ravi Mahajan, the president of Credai’s Nashik unit.
Mahajan added only 20% of the workers have returned so far, but the pace is picking up and normalcy is likely by the end of June.