New Delhi: Rajya Sabha MP N.D. Gupta has urged the central authorities led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to enable each private and non-private bus operators to ferry stranded migrant staff so as to mitigate the struggling attributable to the nationwide COVID-19 lockdown.
Pointing out the truth that the lockdown and the following lack of transport amenities has pressured 1000’s of poor staff to set out for his or her native villages on foot, the MP asserted that the Railways is unable to totally deal with the issue.
“As a result of the world’s strictest lockdown, a nationwide humanitarian crisis of mass migrant worker exodus is currently unfolding in India. Many workers from villages residing in cities, who have been living hand to mouth have lost jobs, not been paid for months, are separated from families and are panic stricken due to the spread of coronavirus. These factors have forced migrant labourers from all parts of the country to start their homeward journeys,” he wrote in his letter to PM Modi.
“Due to unavailability of transport, desperate workers are now attempting to cover distance of thousands of kilometres on foot. Such journeys on foot are causing immense suffering to the migrant workers who are the backbone of our development. Further, it defeats the purpose of social distancing and poses a health hazard. It also prolongs their journeys and exponentially increases the time of exposure,” the letter added.
“While the Railways have started conducting ‘Shramik Special’ trains, they are not adequate to meet the requirements of both volume and practicality. Today the migrant population is largely scattered on the road and therefore alternate to trains must be found in roadways.”
The MP, who’s a member of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), asserted that permitting each authorities and personal bus operators to ferry migrant staff will mitigate the issue to a big extent.
“Most migrant workers are from small villages, many of which do not have railway stations. Besides, reaching to and from train stations by itself is still a mammoth task in the absence of public transport,” he wrote within the letter.
“It is also more cost effective to run buses at lesser occupancy by observing social distancing rules than to do the same for trains. Further, many workers who have already set out on foot may find respite in such pick up buses,” he added.
“My humble suggestion would be to properly educate bus operators on prevention methods and allow buses to move freely between states.”