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Provide Food and Safe Transport to Stranded Migrants during COVID-19 Lockdown

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"Should we eat mud and stones here in the city? It’s better that we go back to our villages. At least there we will get to eat roti with salt."

These words by a migrant labourer interviewed on TV while he was walking hundreds of kilometres to his home shook me.  

All of India is struggling for normalcy in this 21-day lockdown in the wake of the Coronavirus outbreak. But the ones who are the hardest hit are the most vulnerable of us all: the migrant labourers, who work in big cities as daily wagers

The lockdown means they’re out of work for the next 3 weeks. With no income they can’t afford food. Before the government could announce relief packages, lakhs of them with children in tow began heading back to their villages within and across state borders. On foot, as there is no public transport either. All they want is to get back safely to their homes in their village.

Sign my petition asking the Central governments and state governments to coordinate a rescue and relief operation. This should include providing them 

  • Safe transport to reach their villages
  • Food and water camps along the route

Doing so will require intense coordination across states, involving District Administrations. It is heartening to see that a few Chief Ministers have already begun reaching out to one another through social media.

Chief Ministers of Uttar Pradesh (where I am from), Odisha, Jharkhand, Delhi, and Punjab are already coordinating among themselves. This rescue, relief and support operation needs to involve multiple states.

Sign my petition to provide relief to stranded migrants immediately. This will be the best use of our access to social media, especially when we are unable to go out of our homes.

If we don't raise our voices for these helpless Indians then who will?


Image Credit: Adnan Abidi/Reuters