Stranded migrant workers in Karnataka given 'spoilt', 'foul-smelling' rice'

Even as Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitaraman on Thursday announced a massive package for migrant labourers, including the ‘one ration, one card’ scheme, the reality in the BJP-ruled Karnataka is far from rosy. Migrant labourers in Jokkate in Dakshina Kannada district were given spoilt and foul-smelling rice.

The district’s labour department had distributed 100 bags of rice earlier this week after a protest was held by the workers requesting officials to arrange trains to their hometowns. But it now emerges that useless rice was distributed.

The issue was highlighted by Democratic Youth Federation of India (DYFI) state president Muneer Katipalla who said “the rice had spoilt and eventually, some of it was even thrown away. The colour of the rice had changed. We have asked the district administration to conduct an inquiry. Were bills raised for providing spo­ilt rice to the workers?” Katipalla asked as he was quoted in ‘The News Minute’.

Meanwhile, as the first train arrived in Bengaluru from Delhi, the passengers held a massive protest at the KSR Railway Station (Bengaluru Central) against paid quarantine. They said they were not aware of the rule and they had no money. In other states, institutional quarantine was provided by the respective governments, but in Karnataka the charges would have to be borne by the people who come in.

In another development, traders in the trading hub of Kalasipalya in the heart of Bengaluru threw cow dung at a councillor and BBMP (civic) officials for preventing them from opening their businesses.

Kalasipalya comes under KR Market, a containment zone. As people flouted social distancing, Councillor Pra­thi­bha Dhanraj and a BBMP team rushed to the spot and tried to stop traders from opening the shops. However, the Councillor and the BBMP team came under a barrage of cow dung. The traders say the curbs are excessive.

In Hongasandra, another containment zone in Bengaluru, locals protested over the prolonged hotel quarantine. More than 130 residents from Hongasandra have been quarantined at a hotel in Garvebhavi­palya.

They dema­nded that they be allowed to retu­rn home sin­ce they have completed their mandatory isolation period.

Meanwhile, the state on Thursday recorded 28 fresh Covid cases taking the total to 987. Two more Covid deaths took place, taking the death toll to 35.

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