Send Migrant Labourers back home with dignity

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Sir,

Sub: Urgent attention towards the plight of Migrant Workers in TamilNadu

We are writing to you to immediately address the plight of lakhs of Migrant Labourers who want to go to their home state. It must be understood that TamilNadu is at the far end of the country and most Migrant Labourers who are from states of UP, Bihar, Jharkhand, Chattisgarh, West Bengal and the North East have to walk 1000s of Km to get to their homes which is almost impossible. Yet they are being pushed to do the impossible by the insensitivity and lack of apathy of the Central and State Governments.

The response of the Central and State Government to provide rail/air transport to them over the last 55 days of lockdown has been abysmally poor. There were even instances of police pressurizing the Migrant Labourers to continue work since the lockdown has been relaxed even though they wanted to go home.

After the announcement of the Central Government on April 29th that Railways will ply trains to transport them, many Migrant Workers were joyful and hopeful, but the poor implementation that followed suit has pretty much destroyed all hopes. The second letter of the Central Government to states on moving the stranded persons alone showed the ill-placed Central Government’s interest to not send back Migrant labourers home as quickly as possible for reasons best known to them.

Over the last week, we are seeing thousands of Migrant labourers starting to walk all the way from Chennai every day.

It must be understood that even though there are a few trains that have regularly started leaving the state every day from 06/05/2020, it is no way a proportional response to the huge colossal problem at hand.

It is said that there are more than 8 lakh Migrant Labourers who have registered in the TamilNadu Government website alone expressing the need to go back and there are lakhs of people who are unregistered and unaware of the website as well.

The Central and State Governments must have coordinated and made sure that there are at least 25 to 30 trains and a few flights that leave everyday from each state. Are the Central and State Governments not even capable of this?

The reality of the children walking in the scorching sun on the Highways shows that we are in the midst of a huge humanitarian crisis. It must be understood that it is a substantial psychological and emotional issue for Migrant Labourers who want to be with their family in these tough times of Corona.

Is it not possible to spend a few crores out of the huge ‘20 lakh crore package’ announced? When people stuck outside the country are brought through special flights, cant the Migrant workers who have worked day and night for the infrastructure of the big cities be allowed to return home with dignity?

We are seeing a serious lack of political will from the Central and State Governments in coordinating and arranging trains and special flights for the Migrant workers.

Immediate action now can help save lakhs of Migrant workers who want to leave/come to TamilNadu and Crores of Migrant Workers in India. This is the least you can do for the faith shown by them in voting you to power. If you fail, history will not forgive you.

We demand

1. The Central and State Governments must coordinate and run at least 25 to 30 trains, special flights from each state daily to ensure that lakhs of Migrant Workers stranded go their home alive with dignity.

2. Food and other needs of Migrant Workers from now to the point they return home must be borne by the Government free of cost. Social distancing norms shall be ensured during their travel.

3. The Railways must drop the demand of getting the fees from the State Government before starting the train. All trains, special flights and other transport run over the next one month should be wholly free and subsidized directly at the highest level by the Central Government.

Sincerely

Concerned Citizens