DISTRESS DURING LOCKDOWN, With the coronavirus pandemic several migrant workers have been stranded in various states. Nearly then of thousands of migrant workers fled the city, many of the walking hundreds of kilometers to reach their homes as factories and businesses were shut as a part of the Government’s measure to fight the virus, which has killed more than 150,000 people globally.
A survey of 11,159 migrant workers stranded in various states found that between April 8 and April 13, more than 90% did not receive rations from the government. Close to 90% of those surveyed; did not get their wages either by the Government or their employers. From March 27 to April 13, 70% of the surveyed workers had only less than Rs. 200 left with them. (Source: Stranded Workers Association Network)
DISTRESS DURING LOCKDOWN, Aids from the government did not turn out to be efficient enough for the huge mass of migrants and the initial urges from the government seemed more like a debacle as some still remained deprived of their ration quota as the government faced depletion of stocks. Parties as a result of which have collated in the long run to help workers raise voices demanding for their protection amidst the devastating pandemic. Congress urged both Delhi and Uttar Pradesh government to make a plan to evade the predicament of the migrant workers stranded in other parts of India amid lockdown.
“These workers are our own. It is our responsibility to help them. We can’t leave them like this”, said Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra on Twitter.
Not falling behind in the list, Maharashtra’s CM Uddhav Thackrey addressed the migrant labours that the state government would ensure they are sent home. He said, “I give you my word that Maharashtra government will take you to your homes, the day this crisis ends”.
The dangerous conditions amidst which the migrant workers are living is yet another concern for the government. Workers may be housed in unsanitary conditions at camps which are especially dangerous for children. “Migrants are the backbone of any city and hence they should be incentivised to make them feel safe in Delhi and other towns too”, Maken said. He demanded payment of ration for two months to the poor and vulnerable. Besides this, Maken, Congress minister asked for an allowance of Rs. 5000 to all the unemployed people in the national capital.
DISTRESS DURING LOCKDOWN, The government later announced relief measures, providing each individual with 5 kilogrammes of rice/wheat for the next three months, in addition to one kilogramme if pulses per family. The Labour Ministry said it has set up 20 control rooms on a pan-India basis to address wage-related grievances and mitigate problems faced by migrant workers during the lockdown period.
Among the list of worst-hit States, Uttar Pradesh secured the first place. 96% of workers surveyed across India said they did not get rations from the government.
• In U.P., 100% of the migrant workers did not get rations.
• In Maharashtra, 99% of them did not receive rations.
• In Karnataka, 93% of them did not receive rations.
Talking about finances, in Haryana, 76% had less than Rs. 300 and 87% of the workers had less than Rs. 200 in U.P. With the above-mentioned figures, chances of an appreciable livelihood along with the pittance seems grim for the workers.