Migrant Laborers Travelling Amid Lockdown- A Dilemma for Centre and State Government of India

The lockdown has left the country in a state of chaos, especially migrant laborers. Following the lockdown, the informal economy had to migrate to their respective hometowns increasing the chances of spread. As they didn’t have any jobs, no arrangement by government and ways to survive in the city. Subsequently, the catastrophic environment is causing the state and central government to panic.

Currently, Coronavirus cases in India reached 2903 today with 2612 Active cases, 81 Deaths and 209 recovered patients.

The State of panic- Migrant laborers

PM’s 21-day lockdown has paved the way for a large number of unemployment and domestic migration of labour. Especially, the daily wagers like construction workers or domestic helpers from rural parts of the nation. Due to their work base in urban cities, the lockdown has left them abandoned with no way back to their hometown. Further, the abrupt loss of work with no prior savings makes them vulnerable to starvation as well as an infection. In this case, several laborers are walking back to their hometowns. Similarly, in worst cases, they are even stranded on the road due to hurdles along the way.

The plight of Migrant Laborers Left Astray

Hasty lockdown Leads to a Bale of Complications  

As mentioned earlier, it affects over 470 million workers belonging to the informal sector. Furthermore, it poses the problem of hunger for a major chunk of India’s population. Moreover, with no contracts in place, migrant laborers are aground. Thereby, these people stuck in a bizarre situation have no place to stay nor a way back home. Additionally, they have nothing to eat, as many food vendors along the highways are shut. Adding to the misery is the disruption of food supply which again affects the informal laborers.

Few Instances Depicting the Extremity of the Migrant Laborer’s Situation 

1. Ashu and his brother are ragpickers in Delhi. Regarding the situation, they confessed that they are fearful of police and hunger more than the deadly Coronavirus.

2. Baudghiri, 60 year old religious ascetic hasn’t eaten in two days. Even though he supports the lockdown decision to prevent the Coronavirus spread. He is furious about the administration’s lack of planning and its negligence towards minorities.

3. Bhanwarlal, a daily wager from Madya Pradesh who recently met with an accident at work. Thus, damaging his leg and was on his way to the village in Rajasthan. However, due to the lockdown, now he has to walk the rest of his way back.

That apart, street sweepers, rickshaws, construction workers, drivers, and several migrant laborers are going through the same plight.

Government’s dilemma

Initially, it is the prime responsibility of the government to ensure the safety of the citizens in the given situation. In this regard, warehouse or temporary residences must have been organized for the migrant laborers. However, it is completely reckless to dump the blame on the government.

As, amid the deadly spread of infection, it has taken the right decision of lockdown. Even though it affects several sectors as well as citizens, the lockdown is the chief way to control the spread. Nonetheless, the government is striving to successfully contain the infection while trying to solve the problems one after the other. Temporary shelters with free food by state government’s have started in many state.

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