Migrant spectre

Published: Saturday 15 March 1997

-- several migrant workers from eastern Uttar Pradesh (up) who went to earn their livelihood in bigger cities like Mumbai, are reportedly coming back home infected with the deadly hiv virus. According to the Indian Health Organisation statistics, of the 900 aids cases detected in Mumbai, an alarming 11 per cent were migrant labourers from up. The figure is likely to rise manifold if one takes into account the several undetected cases.

The majority of the migrant workers from eastern up who have tested hiv-positive, have contracted the disease from Mumbai's sex workers. But surprisingly, the administrative authorities in the eastern districts of the state are blissfully unaware of the plight of the workers who return carrying the virus and, in course of time, give it to others mainly spouses and children.

"We have to face so many developmental problems that we simply have no time for such issues. Besides, there is no system through which we can identify and isolate such people," says a district official. According to sources, every third family in eastern up has one member working in cities like Mumbai and Delhi. A low literacy rate and a low-key aids awarness campaign seem to have aggravated the problem.

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