Lockdown Pushed Migrant Workers To The Brink Of Starvation: Survey

by GoNews Desk 1 month ago Views 1061
Lockdown Pushed Migrant Workers To The Brink Of St
Migrant workers have had to bear the brunt of the lockdown in the country. This claim has been made in a report by the Stranded Workers’ Action Network (SWAN), an organisation of 73 self-help groups.

This group conducted a survey on 11,159 labourers - along with 640 labour organisations - across the country; its report is very troubling.

Also Read: Thackeray: Run Special Trains To Send Migrant Workers Home

This report states that although promises were made to help migrant workers stranded in Maharashtra, Punjab, Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh and Haryana, the state and Central governments could not make arrangements to provide food to them.

It has been more than three weeks since the lockdown was imposed. Despite this, Central and state governments have been unable to formulate a solid policy to deliver food to people stuck in different places, due to which a food crisis has arisen before daily wage labourers.

This report, released on April 15, claims that around 96% migrant labourers did not receive any ration from the government between April 8 and 13 and 70% labourers could not get cooked food.

Not only this, around 70% daily wage labourers had only Rs 200 left with them by April 13.

The report says that due to empty pockets and a paucity of food, the labourers had to think twice before satiating their hunger and several of them are on the brink of starvation.  

This report by SWAN states that despite PM Modi’s appeal and instructions issued by the Home Ministry, owners have deducted labourers’ salaries. Also, due to the lockdown, 89% labourers did not get their wages. 

Among the calls received by SWAN in the past few days, 44% people had neither rations nor money to cook food at home.

With the extension of the lockdown, pleas for help from labourers are also increasing.

Several state governments are asking labourers to choose from the option of either food or money, whereas it is inappropriate to offer options in the prevailing conditions.

Along with food, daily wage labourers are in need of some immediate financial assistance. Among the 11,159 labourers who were surveyed, there are 1,643 children and women as well. After speaking to them, it was found that their needs will not be met just by providing them rations.

In its report, SWAN has demanded that the amount of rations given to labourers should be doubled to save them from starvation. It has also appealed for proper use of 78 million tonne food grains stored in the godowns of the Food Corporation of India.

Apart from this, it has demanded that every poor family or daily wage labourer should be given Rs 7,000 per month for two months as immediate assistance.

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