One of the most traumatic fall-outs of the protracted lockdown in India is the plight of the migrant labourers. Many of them have lost their livelihoods after the factories were shut. For the last seven weeks, millions of migrant labourers, including pregnant women and mothers carrying small children, have been trudging to their homes as train and bus services were stopped from March 22 (now the buses have been allowed to ply selectively). Many of them have been covering 200 to 1,500 km on foot, while some of them have died on way in rail and road accidents.
The crisis should have impelled all political parties and social organisations to galvanise their cadres in every district to look after the migrants. All political parties have representation down to every hamlet with a population of even 2,000 or less people in India. I can confidently write this having worked for decades in the villages of India, whilst employed with Unilever. They could have provided food, water and shelter to the migrant labourers and provided them with transport to reach their homes. They would have earned massive goodwill.
Rajendra Aneja Mumbai
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