A file photo of migrant labourers gathered at a bus stand in Jaipur | PTI
A file photo of migrant labourers gathered at a bus stand in Jaipur | PTI
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Jaipur: The nationwide lockdown is being openly defied in the Rajasthan capital, with thousands of migrant workers mostly from Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal, and even from within the state, hitting the roads to return home. 

On Saturday evening, nearly 30,000-40,000 migrant labourers gathered at the city’s most prominent bus stands at Sindhi Camp and Transport Nagar. The exodus was partially fuelled by reports that the state government was arranging buses to ferry the migrants, but police dismissed the claim as a rumour.

However, the massive crowds on the roads forced the government to take a U-turn from its earlier stance that people stay put, and arrange buses for the migrants. Rajasthan transport minister Pratap Singh Khachariyawas said buses would be provided to local labourers looking to return to their home districts in Rajasthan. Meanwhile, those from other states will be dropped off at the border with other states

“We have arranged 200 buses… another 800 buses are ready to be deployed,” Rajasthan State Roadways and Transport Corporation managing director Naveen Jain told ThePrint.

Jain said, by Sunday afternoon, 62 buses had dropped labourers to the border or their home districts. He added that private buses would also be allowed to ply but only to drop migrant labourers.

While the administration did step in to arrange buses Saturday, the number of vehicles was not enough to accommodate the migrants gathered at the bus stands. Thousands of people who had walked 20 to 30 km to reach the bus stands spent the whole night on the road hoping to board the bus.


Also Read: Migrant workers pursue long journeys back home amid coronavirus lockdown

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‘No alternative’

The national lockdown that kicked in at 12 midnight Wednesday bars all movement across borders and even within cities, unless for essential purchases like groceries or services like healthcare and media. Even train and bus services have been suspended.

Coronavirus had claimed 25 lives in India by Sunday. 

The move has resulted in thousands of daily wagers and other labourers losing their jobs and employment opportunities, leaving many without accommodation and even food. 

Speaking to ThePrint, many migrants said they were desperate to return home.

“We don’t want to go. But there is no alternative. We have been laid off by our owners… our landlord forced us to leave home,” a migrant worker from Supaul in Bihar said. “We went to police to seek help but were bluntly told to talk to Modiji.” 

The allegations fly in the face of state and central government advisories urging employers to not fire their employees or cut their pay. In an advisory issued Friday, the home ministry asked states and union territories to provide temporary shelter, food, and medical aid to homeless people, including migrant workers. On Friday, the central government cracked down harder, and ordered all states and union territories to seal border, including between districts, to restrict the movement of people.

Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot had also asked employers in the state to give employees paid leave, but there have been allegations that some workers have been sent packing with paltry payouts. Against the state government’s directives, some landlords have also evicted tenants from their homes. 

Gehlot has asked every family to make extra food for two poor persons. 

The CM has also written to Prime Minister Modi, seeking a relief package of Rs 1 lakh crore for all states. On Friday, he spoke to PM Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah, requesting help.


Also Read: Seal borders, put lockdown violators in 14-day quarantine, Modi govt tells states 


 

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11 Comments Share Your Views

11 COMMENTS

  1. There is no doubt we have a great leader like Modi. But our bad luck is we are born middle class. We are the ones who are hit by demonitisation or this lockdown.
    Modi’s only mistake is he should have strictly ordered 14 days quarantine for those who came from abroad at the airport itself. They must have been locked and monitored for 14 days before leaving them to go to their respective home. Now it is too late. I pity all the labourers who are walking distances to reach their homes.
    Government must help them with food and transport.

  2. The amount they spending to bring foreigners with corona infection can be utilized within our country to settle all those strended people

  3. Indian Government brought Indians from China, but did not quarantine all of them. They could have spread the disease in the Country.
    Now why poor Indians staying in other States should suffer?

  4. Modi is repeating 2016 demonization when he punished the poor n Indians for his power achievements. This is strange tht theyknow tht India won’t be able to cope up with infection but they knowingly fogot that what will happen to migrant workers n millions of poor on roads. As administration thy knew everything about it but he conveniently y forgot n went for a lockdown with just few 100 cases. The objective to cut the rates drastically n help his businessmen friends who r on the verge of default, is achieved by him. He is not our leader…..

    • oh yes. Very much correct. Modiji, should have waited like USA, Italy n UK to rise upto 1 lakhs to lockdown.
      Shame on you. trying to politicise this even. R You really indian?

  5. Modi ji ko inke bi rhne khane pine ki vyavatha krwani chahiy na ab . Jb kejriwal KR skta h ..to aise kaam modi ji se kyu nhi hote … B’s roj raat ke 8 bje bhashan dene ajate hai.

    • Why this is happening in opposition ruled States…?
      It is a concerted effort to malign the Modi Government…at the risk of poor people’s life…!

      The opposition is shameless in saying Modi should have cared for the poor….! Then what are the RESPONSIBILITIES OF STATE GOVERNMENTS…?

      Why should we have state governments….?

      People will not forget and forgive the opposition….!

  6. Non BJP governments are a bunch if fools everywhere. Thank God they’re not at centre at this point if time otherwise it would have been a mess

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