Baliapal: At a time when the State government clarified Odisha migrants returning home amid the COVID-19 pandemic should not be ill-treated and have all the rights to return home, the abusive behaviour of Block Development Officer in Baliapal of Balasore district, Chhabirani Sahoo towards some returnees from other States raised many eyebrows.
Some Odia migrants arrived from Thangarh of Gujarat in Balasore by a ‘Shramik Special’ train at around 11 am. Of them a group of migrant workers was sent in a bus to Baliapal. The migrant workers reached in front of the Baliapal block office at around 1 pm.
Instead of taking them to a quarantine centre, the local administration kept the migrant workers waiting inside the bus for one hour.
“When we asked for water, the BDO madam came to us and said: ‘Are you dying of water? Why asking for water? After we pleaded, she allowed us to get down from the bus. She then started abusing us like anything. Even she scolded our forefathers and said you are all illiterate and don’t try to raise voices,” the migrant worker.
Toeing similar lines another migrant worker said, “It seems we have done a grave mistake by returning to our homes. We want justice and action against the concerned officer.”
When the migrant workers asked for food and water, the BDO threatened them saying they will be in troubles if raise voices.
In her reaction the BDO said, “I asked the migrant workers to come to the office premises and take shelter in the temporary arrangements. But some of them argued me and showed disrespect to me. Following this, I used some harsh words but not with an intention to humiliate them. They are unnecessarily making the issue out of nothing and trying to defame me. I will lodge a police complaint against them.”
Worth mentioning, a total of 760 Odia migrants today reached Balasore by the train from Thangarh. After their medical examination, they were sent in 40 buses to different quarantine centres in 12 blocks of the district.