April 05, 2020
KERALA: LDF Govt Ensures Food, Shelter to all Migrant Workers

N S Sajith

THE Kerala state government has deployed as many as 2.36 lakh youths to combat Covid-19 in the state. All volunteers, in the age group of 22-40 years will work in groups of 200 people in each of the 941 panchayats across the state, said chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan on March 26. Groups of 5,000 volunteers each will work in the 87 municipalities and 600 each would render services in the six corporations in the state. The state government had called for all those willing to join the volunteer squad to register online on the website https://sannadham.kerala.gov.in/

Kerala state government, in a bid to tackle the issue of the migrant labourers, has decided to issue identity cards. The state labour department, calling them the guest labourers, has also resolved to provide an insurance cover worth Rs 2,00,000, linked to the ID cards, said chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan. The term ‘guest workers’ itself reflects the care of Kerala towards them. The situation is not at all unfriendly and more than 5,000 camps have been set up for the guest workers, according to official information.

The state chief minister has also ordered the officials to provide food and shelter to the guest workers staying in the state without the supervision of their contractors. He ordered the officials to ensure that good food reaches everybody. Even though it is the labour department that manages such issues, given the unusual circumstances, the chief minister asked the local self government machinery to look after the welfare of the guest labourers during the corona crisis.

Chaos prevailed on March 29 when a large group of guest workers, triggered by false information, gathered at Payippad, a small town in Kottayam district demanding their return to their respective home lands. Violating the lockdown conditions they ganged up and raised slogans for food and safe return.

Kottayam district collector (DM) P K Sudheer Babu said that somebody might have misguided them by circulating the images of exodus of migrant laborers from Delhi to neighbouring states. These demands have been raised suddenly. While the food prepared in the community kitchens is cooked in Kerala style, the protesting labourers demanded the north Indian style food, the collector said. 

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said that it is unfortunate that the guest workers took to the streets in violation of lockdown conditions. This is something that should never have happened when the entire country came together to fight Covid-19. Kerala has always taken the most cautious stance towards guest workers. The district collector was given charge to deal with all the complaints. The government will unveil the conspiracy behind this, said the officials. 

Meanwhile, two deaths caused by the Covid-19 were reported in the state so far. The first Covid-19 death was reported on March 29. A 69-year-old man from Mattancheri, Kochi, succumbed to the infection. His cremation has been performed according to the protocol prescribed by the World Health Organisation. He was admitted to the hospital on March 17 after returning from Dubai. He was a chronic cardiac patient and was diagnosed with pneumonia along with corona.

Abdul Azees (69) a resident of Pothencode, Thiruvananthapuram, also lost his life due to Covid-19. The total number of patients rose to 215 by March 31. The chief minister had expressed deep condolence over the death and ordered for more laboratories to intensify the testing process.

Pinarayi said that the government will explore the possibility of using the drug produced in Cuba to treat the viral infection. Insisting that the public should maintain social distancing, the chief minister ordered for the distribution of corona package, food grains under free ration from April 1. Only five persons are allowed at a ration shop.

The chief minister, addressing the issue of growing hesitation over reading physical hard copies of the newspapers, said that the media is an essential service and appealed to certain residents associations to withdraw their opposition to newspaper distribution.

The state has taken steps to manufacture ventilators, N95 masks, oxygen cylinders, hand gloves and bio-medical equipment to cater to the needs of the medical personnel attending to the Covid-19 patients. An industrial cluster will be launched in Kanchikode, Palakkad for this purpose, said the officials.


Amidst the sorrowful news on the spread of Covid19, a delightful information came from a government medical college hospital, Kottayam, that decorates with a golden feather on the crown of the state health department. Thomas (93) and his wife Mariamma (88), the most elderly patients from Pathanamthitta have been cured with the meticulous course of treatment. The couple was diagnosed with Covid19 due to contact with their son, daughter-in-law and grandson who came from Italy on February 29. This success became relevant as the patients above 60 years are categorised as the high risk group worldwide.

Soon after diagnosed with Covid19, they were critical. Thomas was put on life support as he suffered cardiac diseases and pneumonia. Mariamma was treated in an ICU. The careful treatment given by the doctors and staff and the supervision of authorities including health minister K K Shailaja has given tremendous relief to these patients. All members of this family were cured. Health Minister KK Shailaja congratulated all staff of the hospital for their successful endeavour.