Migrant Workers at Stake – What is holding India back?

A nationwide lockdown in India due to the COVID-19 pandemic is causing havoc on lakhs of migrant workers in the New Delhi, Mumbai and other major cities in India. With only a few transport options available, thousands of people, mostly bachelors and families, are facing a lot of problems going back to their native.

Thousands of migrant workers started fleeing New Delhi soon after Prime Minister Modi announced a nation-wide lockdown by asking all works to shut down. This inflicted hardly on millions of Indians living off by daily wages. Numerous construction projects, taxis and other automobile services, housekeeping, sales, market, and other informal sector employment came to a sudden halt causing loss of daily wages for lakhs of peoples. This caused the loss of income for many daily wage workers. Adding to further problems is the absence of transport facilities.

Migrant Workers of Mumbai and Delhi

As we know Delhi and Mumbai are cities with a high-density population with lots of people coming here for work and livelihood. With the loss of transportation facilities, these workers are left stagnated in bus-stands and terminals as no bus connections are made available. Also, many people along with their family have no modes of transportation to leave the city.

PM Modi in his speech to all Indian citizens spoke that extreme measures are needed to prevent the spread of the coronavirus in India, which has confirmed more than 1000 cases and 20 plus deaths. The PM believes that social-distancing is the only way to prevent this virus from spreading and stop the chain of this virus from claiming further lives.

Credits: India Today

Package from Finance Ministry

It is pleasing to hear that India’s finance ministry has announced a whopping 1.7 trillion rupees package that will include delivering grains and lentil rations for three months to 800 million people which is about 60 percent of India’s population. However, many daily wage workers and other peoples below the poverty line fear not for the virus, but starvation and hunger.

It is really sad to hear that a Delhi residing painter along with his family which included two children, walked 400 miles to their village in the Uttar Pradesh. Many migrant workers have no choice but to walk home. They are walking along highways, along train tracks with no access to food, no access to fresh, clean water and basic sanitation. Governmental authorities have sent a fleet of buses to the outskirts of New Delhi on Saturday to help migrant workers, who are desperately trying to reach their native villages.

How is Delhi Responding?

Also, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal took it to twitter only to say that both Uttar Pradesh and Delhi governments have arranged buses for the needy workers. He also said that the Delhi government is doing everything possible to keep the situation under control. He also urges peoples not to go out as they are making arrangements for food, shelter, and water. Also, hints are stating that all government schools in Delhi would be converted to shelter for homeless peoples. Uttar Pradesh government has also sent government and private busses for helping thousands of passengers, strangled on the roads of Delhi and Uttar Pradesh.

Many people were stopped at the regional borders and provided with tented accommodations. Regional governments were requested to handle this situation and do the best for their migratory workers. Also, it is very sad to hear that even the migrant laborers in many Indian cities have started occupying parks and playgrounds. Also, remote kitchens are set up to feed these migrant workers in many parts of Delhi. Though separate shelters are made available for these workers and homeless peoples, yet the allotted space is so small to handle thousands of peoples. Most importantly, over a dozen migrant workers have died causing minor riots and anger. This event has turned to one of the biggest migrations in India’s modern history.


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