The dire condition of migrant laborers throughout the country has rendered many speechless, as the bitter truth of their reality’s escapes through the oppressive clutches of their employer’s hands.
The rising number of coronavirus cases in the country led to the implementation of a nation-wide lockdown a few months ago. The whole country had come to a halt as it witnessed the world’s strictest lockdown. Without much warning, or time being given for preparation, the news of the lockdown came as a shock to many, including migrant labor workers. Their situation is especially marked by distress as no proper arrangement was made for their stay. Their employers held them back with the promise of work to be restarted soon, and that they will be given their due payment if they stayed back in the state.
In a month’s time several rumors from the Kejriwal led AAP went afloat regarding a potential three-month extension of the lockdown. This baffled the migrant population and they marched towards the border, ready to return home by foot or any other possible way available to them. The issue of curfew passes being instilled for three months led to the possible belief amongst the migrant population regarding the lockdown being extended for three months.
The central government criticized Kejriwal and his party for “misleading” the migrant population immensely. Reportedly, many announcements were made regarding the availability of buses to take the migrant population home. Kejriwal has been accused of misguiding the migrants, which has been deemed as morally incorrect. He made several announcements to stop the workers from travelling to their native states, but the central government paid no heed to his efforts in trying to control the mass exodus. A huge population of laborers had already gathered near the Delhi-UP border in hopes to go home. Supreme Court of India asked the Centre and the Delhi Government as to why the migrant workers were disorderly assembled at the Delhi-UP Borders in March.
Supriya Pandit filed a PIL regarding the government’s actions and said that the Government had arranged DTC Buses for migrant workers to be dropped off at the Anand Vihar Bus Terminal. The lockdown had been enforced and the borders were already sealed, and no interstate travel was allowed. Thousands of migrants had arrived to board the buses in order to go home.
Arvind Kejriwal recently suggested that Delhi hospitals should be reserved only for residents of Delhi amid the Covid-19 crisis. When most of the country is considering relaxation in lockdown, he has ordered sealing of Delhi borders. His actions are certainly creating a sense of his hatred towards the migrant workers who mostly belong to the states of Bihar and Uttar Pradesh.
Several epidemiologists released a statement that the mass exodus of migrant laborers led to a huge scale community transmission of the virus. The migrant population will carry the strain to the rural and semi urban sections of the country where health and sanitation is a major concern. The mismanagement of the government in tackling the migrant population situation will lead to the country in paying a hefty price.