Decision Maker Response
Manish Tewari’s response
May 7, 2020 — Dear Citizens,
The lockdown triggered by the Coronavirus pandemic has created the worst humanitarian crises in our country since the partition of 1947. When the lockdown was suddenly announced in the third week of May, almost two months after the first cases had been reported in Kerala, chaos descended everywhere. Within days, frantic migrants went on a mass exodus. The Modi government inflicted an avoidable catastrophe on itself by creating such a crisis. Without their daily income, hungry and homeless, the migrants took to the national highways. The scorching sun didn’t bother them, neither did the fact that their homes could be over 300 km away. Several poignant and heart breaking stories of human suffering have been documented.
This is an issue that the Congress party and I care about deeply. I am glad that this petition on Change.org by Sunita Kumari and Shirin Shabana Khan for the safe return of our migrant brothers and sisters has been brought to my notice.
As stated by our party president Smt. Sonia Gandhi ji, workers and labourers form the backbone of our economy. Their hard work and sacrifice are the foundation of our nation. Therefore there is an urgent need to to enable these helpless Indians to reach their families at zero or minimal costs. The matter needs to be handled with a sense of humanity and utmost respect.
Following the Ministry of Home Affairs order dated 29th April, which mandated guidelines for the movement of persons, I am happy to share with you all that Congress-run governments in three states, Chhattisgarh, Punjab, and Rajasthan, are bearing the rail travel expenses of stranded labourers and migrants going home. On Smt. Gandhi’s instructions, Pradesh Congress Committees in all other states will be bearing the rail travel costs of every needy worker and migrant labourer. For example, the Maharashtra unit of the #Congress party has paid for the tickets of 4,627 migrants who travelled from Maharashtra to Bihar in the past couple of days. Our party’s initiative has led many other political parties and some state governments to make similar commitments.
This crisis presents us an opportunity to unite as parties and as Indians to take care of one another and make these hard times easier for every single Indian.
I would like you to remain updated on our work by following us on Twitter @INCIndia and @ManishTewari
Member of Parliament, Sri Anandpur Sahib(Punjab)
National Spokesperson, Indian National Congress
Former Information and Broadcasting Minister, Govt. Of India