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West Bengal migrant labourers who returned to village quarantine themselves on banyan tree branches


tree

KLOLKATA: Setting a unique example of self-awareness, seven tribal migrant labourers, who returned to Purulia district from Chennai, quarantined themselves on a baniyan tree. Since their families live in a single-room mud-hut, they realised their presence at home might invite danger to their family members. None of them entered their village.

They arranged seven charpayas and mosquito-nets. Fearing attack by elephants, they decided to avoid the ground under the tree. They tied the charpayas to the branches of the huge tree and have been staying there since last Monday.

All seven labourers are from Bhangidih village, located in the foothills of Ayodhya hills in Balarampur police station area. "We boarded a train from Chennai on Saturday last week. We arrived Kharagpur next day and underwent a medical check-up. Though the doctors found none of us contracted coronavirus but advised us for self-quarantine for 14 days. We arrived outside our village on Monday, but did not enter there," said Bijay Singh.

Bijay and others contacted their friends who helped them to arrange seven charpayas and mosquito-nets. "Since this is a season and all nearby fields are full of food grains, there are chances of attacks by elephants. We decided to avoid the ground and shift to the branches of the tree," said Bimal Singh Sardar, another labourer of the group.   

The food is supplied to them by their families. "But we are not allowing them to come close to us. They keep the cooked food under the tree, we climb down and eat. We are not even allowing our family members to wash the utensils. We wash it using soap and keep it back on the ground before we climb up again," said Ranjit Singh Sardar.

The other villagers came forward to save the seven of their neighbours from the attack of wild animals and python. "Leopard, bear and wolf are often seen in the forests of the hills. We are keeping a vigil every night with bow and arrow to protect them,’" Judhistir Singh.

Dhrubapada Shandilya, the block development officer of Balarampur, said no complement was enough for the seven men. "We are also thinking how the local administration can help them," he said.

(THE NEW INDIAN EXPRESS)