06/05/2020 11:05 AM IST | Updated 06/05/2020 4:35 PM IST

Karnataka Govt Cancels Trains For Migrant Workers After Meeting With Builders

The state government wrote to the Railways, saying the trains requested earlier for migrant workers were no longer required.

MANJUNATH KIRAN via Getty Images
Migrant workers wait in a lineup to enlist for transportation to leave for their hometowns during a government-imposed nationwide lockdown in Bengaluru on April 30, 2020. 

The Karnataka government cancelled all trains for migrant workers to return to their home state after the chief minister met with property builders in the state, The Quint and News18 reported.

Migrant labourers were told work would resume hours after Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa’s meeting with representatives of Confederation of Real Estate Developers Associations of India on Tuesday.

After the meeting, Yediyurappa said: “The COVID-19 situation in the state is in control as compared to other states. Barring the red zones, business, construction work and industrial activities have to be resumed. In this background, it was explained that unnecessary travel of the migrant workers has to be controlled,” News18 quoted.

Prasad told News18 that around 10,000 labourers who wanted to return to Bihar were at the Bangalore International Exhibition Centre. “Yesterday (Tuesday), Yediyurappa held a meeting with construction agencies — Metro, BIAL and all infrastructure projects which are going on. The chief minister directed them to start all work immediately. Afterwards, migrant labourers at BIEC were all told that work will start.”

The Quint said it accessed a letter written by the state government’s principal secretary Manjunath Prasad to South Western Railways, which said that trains requested by the state were no longer required.

According to the letter, the state government had earlier requested the Railways to run two train services every day, for 5 days, from Bengaluru to Dhanapur in Bihar.

An official who attended the meeting with the builders told The Quint that it had been decided migrant workers were needed to revive the state’s economy.

According to News18′s report, Karnataka has over two lakh migrant labourers, of which about 70,000 are from Bihar, as per labour department’s records collected during the COVID-19 pandemic.