Migrant workers are forced to walk long distances as transportation comes to a grinding halt, all thanks to the lockdown
Bengaluru: These are worst possible times we are facing. As the coronavirus spreads its tentacles, the entire globe is facing the consequences. As we write this article, the number of deaths in India has reached 21 and the affected has reached in excess of 900.
With a view to curb the spread of the virus, on March 24, Prime Minister Narendra Modi imposed a lockdown on the country.
It has brought the country to a standstill. Roads are empty. Shutters are down. Traffic is zilch. Transportation has stopped completely.
But for many migrant workers across the country, the very prospect of no work at the sites they were working in has crushed their daily earnings.
As the contractors at the sites declared that they would have no work for 21 days or more as the lockdown has been implemented with full gusto, these poor and helpless labourers decided to walk back to their hometowns, braving the heat and consequences of the long walks.
For example, immediately after the PM announced the lockdown and the transportation came to a grinding halt, a group of labourers from Kanpur left for their hometown in Bahraich, which is some 250 kilometres away.
And as if the pains and privations are not enough, the disdainful attitude of the cops only adds to their misery.
A case in point is how a group of workers who walked from Gwalior to Badauri in Uttar Pradesh were punished by the cops. The cops were upset that these labourers were flouting the lockdown instructions.
THIS-Heartbreaking!— Zeba Warsi (@Zebaism) March 26, 2020
Video from Badaun, UP
Poor boys who’re on foot from Gwalior, WERE MADE TO CRAWL by UP Police
Cops been asked to help distressed migrants, not ill treat them like this.
Many cops doing good work but this is unacceptable! @pranshumisraa #CoronavirusLockdown pic.twitter.com/YPllyphTO7
But on the other side of the continuum, we must also accept and acknowledge that authorities are doing their best to ensure these innocent and helpless labourers are given the optimum facilities to reach home.
At this point, to corroborate our claims, we must tell you that when 2000 labourers walked from Ahmedabad in Gujarat to Rajasthan, a distance of several hundred kilometres, the authorities arranged buses for them to reach home safely.
In conclusion, as said earlier, these are testing times. Everyone is facing the hardship. But we must endure it, defeat the spread of the virus and patiently, wait for normal to return.
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Last Updated 28, Mar 2020, 3:14 PM