Arrange Testing and Transport for People Stranded on the Streets of India.

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Lakhs of migrant workers have been stranded on the streets of several metro cities in India caused by a country-wide lock-down till April 15th which has been imposed by the Prime Minister of India in wake of the COVID-19 Pandemic. All train and bus services have been halted and business have ceased operations. While this is a necessary measure, the daily wage laborers working in these cities have suddenly been rendered jobless, without shelter or any means of getting back home to their families. Several people have been forced to walk distances of  hundreds of kilometers to reach their homes. And these are the luckier ones. People from Bihar working in New Delhi (a distance of over 1000 KMs) have no place to stay AND no means of getting back home. Furthermore, they are regularly harassed by law enforcement authorities because of the near curfew-like situation in the country right now. 

Therefore, I urge our Honorable Union Ministers of Railways and Road Transport, Mr. Piyush Goyal and Mr. Nitin Gadkari, to work towards getting these people home while ensuring efficient lock-down and social distancing

A 6-point agenda can both work towards increasing national surveillance figures and setting up necessary logistics for this large group of people:

1. Operationalize mobilize testing centers, equipped with Rapid Diagnostic Tests for COVID-19. 

2. These testing centers to be manned by paramilitary and state health personnel for COVID-19. Provide a travel pass to people who test negative, quarantine people who test positive.

3. This travel pass to give them access to a freight train/truck traveling to a hub nearest to their home towns.

4. Identify hubs and facilitate buses or other means of public transport. Equip these with medical-hygiene equipment such as hand sanitizers and soap. 

5. Once they reach the hub, arrange shuttle services from the hub to their home town by aggregating demand and matching schedules.  

6. Along the way, utilize unused bed and kitchen capacity of religious places, hotel and restaurant kitchens to arrange for meals and accommodation. 

While this is certainly easier said than done, it will have the double benefit of increasing national surveillance figures and go a long way in reuniting stranded people with their families.

Video 1 - Young Boy laborer breaks down in front of TV reporter

Video 2 - People forced to walk 80 KMs to reach their home town in absence of modes of transport.

Imagine living on the streets with nowhere to go while we sit in the comfort of our homes. Imagine sleeping on the streets and bus stands in times like these. Do spare a thought and a click to help these people get home safely and reunite with their families. 

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