Impact of COVID-19 Lockdown on Migrant Labourers from Kalahandi, Odisha
Gram Vikas, in partnership with the Centre for Migration and Inclusive Development (CMID) conducted a rapid assessment following up a robust random sample of migrant workers from Thuamul Rampur to understand the initial impact of the lockdown on migrant labourers from Kalahandi whose remittances play a pivotal role in the local economy. Gram Vikas, with CMID, had conducted a survey in February 2020, among a representative random sample of 95 migrants from 440 households, across 22 villages. These workers were followed up by the research team through phone calls during the period March 26 to April 6, 2020.
Location during lockdown:
The rapid assessment revealed that over one-third of the workers continue to be at their destinations while most others are back in the village. One of the major reasons for a large number of workers arriving immediately before the lockdown in Thuamul Rampur is that most of them worked in Kerala, predominantly at hotels or restaurants. Hotels and restaurants in Kerala were one of the first to get affected by the COVID epidemic as people started avoiding visits to public places.
Access to Food and Shelter for Stranded Workers:
All the workers stranded at various destinations reported that currently they had a place to stay. Also, among those who are at workplaces, 91 per cent get/had access to at least two meals a day. The workers at the destination were worried as they cannot afford to meet the consumption expenses and other expenses in the absence of income from work and were nervous about their dwindling cash and food stock. At many destinations they were getting food from civil society organisations or government agencies.
Knowledge about COVID-19:
All the workers at the destination had heard about the Coronavirus or COVID. However, only less than 10 per cent of the workers knew the symptoms, slightly over 10 per cent had knowledge about at least two methods to prevent the infection."
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