recently. There is, however, no news about the whereabouts of 20 others who had gone from the district to work in fishing trawlers in that state.
Sundergarh-based NGO Helpline said it was coordinating between an NGO in Goa and villagers to gather news of the migrants. "We have identified 11 victims so far and informed their families," Helpline member U K Bhitiria said. "We are in contact with the NGOs in Goa and the administration there to trace the whereabouts of 20 others from Sundergarh district. They have been missing for several days now and we are afraid that they too may have died during the cyclone," Bhitiria added.
The deceased have been identified as Chitrasen Gahar, Dilip Gahar, Rajib Gahar, Nanda Gahar, Jagidish Kisan, Lokeswar Rana, Jagdish Nayak, P Palsen, Bali Kumar, Rasjesh Tirkey and Netra Bhoi. All of them were in the age group of 25 to 35 years and belonged to extremely poor families.
Grief descended on the victims' villages in Subdega and Balisankara blocks after confirmation of the deaths started pouring in from Tuesday.
The tragedy has once again turned the spotlight on the plight of migrant labourers from Orissa. Low employment opportunities force hundreds of poor people, including women, from the district to search for greener pastures in other parts of the country every year. The administration, however, has no information on the migrants and therefore fails to take prompt action during a tragedy such as the Goa cyclone.
The district administration, however, argued that it was not possible to keep track of the migrant labourers. "Many natives of Sundergarh district work as labourers in several projects in Mumbai and Goa. These migrants move to different places for earning their livelihood without information. We therefore don't have records of their whereabouts," an official said on condition of anonymity.
Source:Times of India (Dt.18 November 2009)