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‘Too little, too late’: Running special train for migrants knee-jerk reaction, says Congress

As the country nears the 40-day lockdown on May 3, the Union Home Ministry, in consultation with railway ministries, issued guidelines on late Thursday night for movement of stranded migrant labourers, students and tourists who want to return home.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi | Updated: May 1, 2020 5:29:35 pm
migrant workers, may day, urdu poets, urdu poetry, indian express Singhvi demanded Centre to provide more money to the states to provide for the migrant workers.

The Congress Friday came heavily down on Centre for “mercilessly” and “cruelly” abandoning the entire category of migrant labour and termed its order on the inter-state movement of workers as a cruel joke. After receiving a go-ahead from the Centre for the inter-state movement of labourers, states grappling with the issue, have been coordinating to bring them back.

“The Centre has mercilessly, cruelly and without second thought abandoned the entire category of migrant labour,” Congress spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi said addressing a press conference through video conferencing, according to PTI.

Doubting Centre’s intention towards the migrant workers, he said the “mismanagement” of migrant labour shows the approach the central government has adopted towards the poor of country. Raising the issue of migrant labourers stranded at state borders and ones who are forced to walk several kilometres to reach their homes, Singhvi demanded the Centre to provide more money to the states to provide for them.

“Clearly this is avoidance technique and shifting of responsibility by the central government in taking steps to ensure the labour force reach their homes,” he alleged. He said a ‘fiscal injection’ especially designed for the labour class was the need of the hour to help them tide over the current crisis due to the lockdown over COVID-19.

Calling Centre’s decision to run a train from Telangana to Jharkhand for purpose of transporting migrants as a “knee-jerk” reaction, he added that it was “too little, too late”. “It is complete hypocrisy and contradiction on the part of the Centre,” he charged. On Friday morning, first train carrying about 1,000 migrant labourers set off from Lingampally in Telangana for Hatia in Jharkhand at 5 am.

Singhvi said Home Ministry’s order issued on April 29 on inter-state movement of labourers is a ‘tuglaqi farmaan’ (royal order), which is “very quaint and funny”. “It is on the backs of these migrant labour that we enjoy our infrastructure,” he said.

The most vulnerable and weakest section of the informal sector were given only four hours notice before implementing the lockdown and they needed food and water before travelling to their home towns, he said.

READ | Lakhs to repatriate, but Maharashtra undecided on how to send migrant workers home

As the country nears the 40-day lockdown on May 3, the Union Home Ministry, in consultation with railway ministries, issued guidelines on late Thursday night for movement of stranded migrant labourers, students and tourists who want to return home. Sources, however, said this will not apply to those in hotspots or containment zones.

(With PTI inputs)

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