The direct bus service between Odisha and Kerala, which began for bringing back Odia workers from the southern state during Covid, is still in force. (Image: News18)
Odia labourers from Kendrapada district are going for work to Kerala and, in view of the spread of the virus, the Kendrapada administration has taken precautionary measures and are monitoring those travelling to and fro
Amid panic over the Nipah virus outbreak in Kerala, direct buses between Odisha’s Kendrapada district and the southern state are being kept under surveillance by the health department. Odia labourers from Kendrapada district are going for work to Kerala and, in view of the spread of the virus, the administration has taken precautionary measures and are monitoring those travelling to and fro.
The bus service, which began for bringing back Odia workers from Kerala during Covid, is still in force. There are four buses running from Ernakulam district to Satavaya area of Rajnagar block in Kendrapada district. There is a direct bus from Satavaya to Kerala once a week.
Many people from Gopalpur, Gupti, Okilpal, Baghpatia, Goj, Satavaya, Charighariya, Devanarayanpur areas in the district are going to work in different industrial establishments in Kerala. Odia labourers are especially engaged in carpentry, textiles and tile factories. The number of migrant workers has been on the rise due to the direct bus service.
Jiten, a bus driver, said: “There are four buses running from Odisha to Kerala. Most of the labourers work in plywood, tile and hotel industries. The buses run once a week and it takes 36 hours to reach in Kerala. The bus service continued since Covid lockdown.”
Locan residents said close to 20,000 labourers work in Kerala. “My son has been staying there. Due to lack of employment, they are interested in working in Kerala,” said a local resident.
Kendrapada district administration is monitoring all those returning from Kerala. The additional district medical officer said health officials have been asked to monitor the health of those returning from Kerala and check for symptoms such as cold, fever and to report these immediately.
“We are taking precautionary measures to tackle the situation. It has been directed to local officials to monitor the health of those returning form Kerala and report it immediately,” said district medical officer Sachidananda Mishra.