Bhaichung offers building in Sikkim to help migrant workers (Lead)

By Baidurjo Bhose
Kolkata, March 30 (IANS) Former India football captain Bhaichung Bhutia on Monday offered his building in Lumsey, Tadong, Sikkim to the migrant workers in the state at a time they are struggling to reach their homes amid the 21-day nationwide lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“There are a lot of migrant workers who are stuck in Sikkim also. Sikkim does not have any cases of coronavirus as of now. So I decided to offer my building which is still unfinished to them,” Bhutia told IANS from Siliguri in West Bengal where he has been stuck since the first day of the 21-day lockdown.

“I was returning from Kolkata and due to this lockdown now I am here. So I am coordinating everything from here. The building can accommodate upto 100 people. It has five floors. Already 10 workers are staying there. We are providing them food. We have asked the local government to support us,” Bhutia said.

The iconic former striker said he and his team at United Sikkim FC (USFC) is also working on helping migrant workers in Bengal get ration.

“We are in talks with local authorities. Let’s see what can be done for them here in Bengal also. I feel strongly for the migrant workers who hope to reach their homes,” added the 43-year old.

The West Bengal government has come up with a series of measures to prevent movement of migrant labourers, directing district administrations to arrange for temporary shelters and provisions of food, and all employers to pay full wages on the due day to the workforce irrespective of whether their establishments are under closure during the lockdown period.

The Centre on Sunday directed the states to strictly follow the nationwide lockdown norms and stop the movement of people across the cities, advising them to arrange shelter, food and other facilities for migrant labourers at their workplace.

The direction came amid migration of labourers from cities to their villages in different states like Uttar Pradesh and Bihar after Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday announced nationwide lockdown to break the chain of COVID-19 transmission.

–IANS
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