Instead of effectively managing the Corona crisis, the BJP government at the Center has pushed the burden of this crisis on to villages. The migrant workers, on whose blood, sweat and labor the big corporate companies and industrialists earn billions, have been left to die of starvation in cities and metropolises after the Lockdown. The 20 lakh crore package announced by the Modi government will not be able to give any relief to these workers in their hour of crisis because the package contains only betrayal in the name of relief.
Hungry and distressed, the migrant workers have bid adieu to Mumbai, Surat, Gurgaon, Ludhiana, Kanpur and other cities and have started walking home to their native villages. Small children, pregnant women, young workers are all on foot on roads and rail tracks, crossing jungles and rivers, walking thousands of kilometers and facing inhuman conditions, starvation, dehydration and death in their attempt to reach home. Instead of arranging transport, food and rest for them, the police of the Modi-Yogi governments are beating them with lathis.
In their native Districts, they are being kept in Quarantine Centers with an appalling lack of humanitarian or basic facilities. There are no arrangements for maintaining physical distancing; they do not get proper nutritious food or clean drinking water. Hygiene conditions are worse than in jails. There is great irregularity in the matter of sanitizers, soaps, medicines, mosquito nets, clothes and vessels.
After the Lockdown, the CPIML has consistently demanded the safe return of migrant workers at government expense, Lockdown Package for them, and 6 months’ free rations for the rural and urban poor. Our activists will continue to raise their voice for these demands till each and every migrant worker reaches their native District safely and returns home healed and in good health from the Quarantine Centers. Therefore, the following are our demands from the Nitish Kumar government:
- Bring out manuals for Quarantine Centers and make arrangements for migrant workers living there to get 4 nutritious meals per day, clean drinking water, hygienic conditions, sanitizer, soap, masks, medicines, mosquito nets, clothes (lungi, banyan, towel, underwear etc.), vessels (plate, glass, bowl, tray, spoon, bucket, mug, etc.), fans, light, newspapers and spatial arrangements for maintaining physical distancing.
- A Lockdown Package of Rs 10,000 and 3 months’ free rations for every migrant worker.
- Make arrangements for the safe return home of each and every migrant worker at government expense.
- Rs 50 lakhs compensation for families of every migrant worker who died during the Lockdown period due to road and rail accidents, hunger, etc.
- Jobs according to their eligibility for skilled and unskilled workers; interest-free government loans; construct enough factories and industries in Bihar (as per the government’s promise) in order to prevent migration.
- Make alternative arrangements for settlement before evicting landless poor living on the banks of government ahars and ponds; stop using machines (JCB, Poklane etc.) in the name of Jal-Jeevan-Hariyali; give employment to jobless workers.
- Crop loss (due to untimely rains and hail storms) compensation for sharecroppers and farmers at the rate of Rs 25,000 per bigha.