E-passes cause trouble for returning workers

Months after leaving Chennai, migrants are now returning to the city in flights, as their presence is crucial for the resumption of construction works.

Almost every other day, the Chennai airport has been receiving hundreds of migrant workers, returning from cities like Patna, Kolkata and Guwahati.

But many of them continue to struggle to get e-passes. A few days ago, several workers who landed at the Chennai airport had a tough time getting e-passes and were stranded inside the terminal.

Facing hardship

“They were confused and many did not even know how to get e-passes. They were stuck at the terminal for a while. After an official came forward to help, the issue was sorted out,” a source said.

Many workers have, again, borrowed money to purchase flight tickets to get back to the city and return to work, said airport sources.

“In many cases, the employer bought them tickets because they want to resume construction work, be it large infrastructure projects or small constructions,” an airport source said.

Greater Chennai Corporation officials used to man the counters at the airport before the new protocol was adopted in September.

“The Chennai Corporation has withdrawn all its officials from the airport. But we monitor e-passes and home quarantining of the passengers. We get information only about those who have reached the city with an e-pass,” said an official of the Corporation.

Facilitating issuance

The State government’s Public Department has set up counters at the airport to facilitate issuance of e-passes to the passengers.

“The passengers should get e-passes before boarding the flight. But many are not aware of the norms. So our staff have been asked to help them,” added an official.

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