Help migrant workers, keep them put: Centre tells states, UTs
With sorry reports of thousands of migrant workers walking towards their native places emerging from across India, the Centre sent an urgent advisory to all states and Union Territories asking them to ensure the laborers have food and shelter. They were also asked to initiate steps to keep the migrant workers, where they are. Their movement will render India's lockdown useless, the Centre underscored.
The world's largest lockdown happened in India
Starting Wednesday, India was put under a 21-day lockdown to contain the coronavirus spread. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in his address to the nation, informed that India can mitigate the impact of the deadly virus by staying indoors and urged citizens to remain where they are. To ensure this happens, railways, metros, buses, and airline services were suspended too.
Migrant workers faced the brunt, decided to walk home
The lockdown announcement hit the migrant workers the hardest. With no jobs and money, they intended to go home, but the suspension of transport served as a double whammy. Fearing that they might contract the virus, they started walking home. Some took the risky route of hopping on empty railway rakes and overcrowded trucks. They walked on empty stomachs, and the nation wept.
What option do I have, asked one worker
Reportedly, Shah asked states to look into mass exodus
According to PTI, Home Minister Amit Shah spoke to chief ministers asking them to look into the issue of mass exodus. "The home ministry has issued an advisory to States/UTs to prevent a mass exodus of migrant agricultural laborers, industrial workers, and unorganized sector workers, so as to prevent the spread of COVID-19," the official statement read, according to the agency.
Assure workers the lockdown will not exceed stipulated time: Centre
Apart from giving them food and shelter, states should also assure the workers that the lockdown will not continue beyond the fixed time, a report in TOI said. States/UTs were asked to initiate steps to ensure students and working women stay at their existing accommodation during the lockdown. The workers must also be informed about the Centre's schemes like food distribution and cash transfers.
Shouldn't we help our laborers, asked Priyanka Gandhi Vadra
Yesterday, Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra referred to the distressing events, playing out in several parts of the nation and asked government to help them. "Feeling sad looking at thousands of laborers walking towards Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. They are our people, they are Hindustanis, they are laborers. Isn't it our responsibility to help them?" she asked in a video.
Priyanka reminded that thousands were flown back home
Some workers are being ferried on buses
As per the latest reports, some buses have been arranged in Delhi-UP to ferry the workers to their native places. Hundreds of migrant workers reached Lal Kuan from Delhi, Gurugram and other places, and boarded over-crowded buses to reach their homes. Similarly, in Lucknow's Charbagh Bus Station, people stood in queues awaiting buses that are supposed to take them to their homes in UP.