On Tuesday, the Labour Minister told the Parliament that the Union government does not have any data of the migrant laborers who went back to their hometowns at the beginning of the Coronavirus lockdown. In the first session of the Parliament after the lockdown, the ministry was bombarded with questions from the opposition regarding the data on migrant workers.
The opposition had asked Santosh Kumar Gangwar, the Labour Minister, about detains of economic compensation, if any, provided to these labourers who had lost their jobs. Many labourers had died on the journey back to their hometowns.
Gangwar said that no such record has been maintained by the government therefore, no question of compensation arose.
This answer has baffled members of the Parliament and the public. More than a crore of migrant workers had gone back to their homes from various parts of the country.
This answer on the part of the Central government shows utter callousness, where they do not have any concern for the migrant workers. These workers have been stripped off their livelihood and the government will not be able to help them since they have not kept a track of these migrant workers.
Any form of compensation would have been a great help to these workers. But with the statement of the Labour Minister, these workers have been stripped off each and every ray of hope.
Nityanand Rai, Minister of State for Home Affairs, said that the exodus was triggered by a piece of ‘fake news’ regarding the shorter availability of essentials. But while saying this, he did not think about how the lockdown had affected these workers who are generally daily wagers. They did not have any work, they did not have any money to feed themselves, their landlords were forcing them for rent. All of these things drove these migrants workers home.
Many of these workers did not even reach their hometowns and were infected with the coronavirus on their journey. Some of them could recover, others succumbed to illness. These workers have no ray of hope to cling on to in these difficult times where so many of them are unemployed.
Ashish Satyam, St Xavier’s College of Management and technology, Patna