Kolkata, March 29, 2020-
Seven migrant workers, who came back home to West Bengal’s Purulia district from Chennai amidst the Coronavirus-induced lockdown, perched themselves on a banyan tree to remain in quarantine, in the absence of separate room for self-isolation in their small huts.
After several days in their ‘temporary home’, the workers were on Saturday ordered to come down by the local administration.
The workers, all residents of Bangidiha village of Purulia district under Balarampur block, said as they live in one-room mud huts with their families, there is no way they can keep themselves in isolation, which is a must to ensure not a single villager contracted the Coronavirus infection from them.
However, none of them have displayed symptoms linked to COVID-19, nor have they undergone any test for the disease.
“At present we don’t have any health issues. But in case we are detected positive for the disease at a later date, then at least none of the villagers will be infected because of us,” said one of the workers Bijay Singh Laya.
The workers reached Kharagpur junction station on Sunday last from Chennai and underwent thermal screening and tests but the doctors did not find any symptom of the disease. “However, they asked us to live under self-quarantine for 14 days as a safety measure”.
“But we don’t have any separate personal room in our home. So, we decided to live on the branches of the banyan tree just outside our village,” he said.
The seven labourers tied their beds to the branches of the tree, and used a mosquito net to prevent themselves from bites of insects.
Their family members brought them daily ration of rice, pulses, and vegetables, along with other cooking implements and left after keeping those under the tree, while strictly maintaining the norms of social distancing.
“We get down from the tree, cooked, and then again went up,” said one of the workers.
Villagers on their part kept night vigil by turn to ensure the tree-dwellers are not devoured by wild animals from the nearby forest or bitten by venomous snakes.
On Saturday, however, the local administration got to know of the incident, and asked the workers to return to their village and left in isolation there. (Agency)