The Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi (VBA) president, Prakash Ambedkar, Monday urged people to refrain from taking to streets to celebrate Dr. B R Ambedkar’s birth anniversary on April 14. The 21-day nationwide lockdown, to contain COVID-19 pandemic, is also slated to end on the day.
The party, instead, has appealed to OBCs and Dalits to show restraint and observe the day, also known as Bhim Jayanti, by paying tribute to the architect of the Indian Constitution from their home. Every year, more than 11 crore people participate in the Bhim Jayanti celebrations.
“The 21-day lockdown has badly impacted the lower strata of society, especially the landless Dalits and OBCs. The public distribution system, which is targeted for them, has not reached them yet. It is all on paper. The most vulnerable are the Vimukt Bhatkya Jamati, who are homeless workers… Unfortunately, the state government is still not providing free food grains to these segments,” the VBA president said.
Claiming that the state government has Rs 10,000 crore in State Employment Guarantee Fund, he asked, “why can’t they utilise these to extend help to poor and needy?”
In a letter to Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, Prakash Ambedkar requested 16,000 state transport buses to be deployed to help migrant labourers stranded in various parts of the state to reach their respective districts and villages.
He also criticised the Prime Minister for not taking “harsh measures” and closing the international borders in early February. “The COVID-19 has provided a cover-up to the economic mess in India. Even before the outbreak, the government had failed miserably to streamline the economy,” he said.
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