A day after the central government extended the nationwide lockdown by two more weeks, the Congress Saturday asked the Government to explain the rationale behind the second extension – its purpose, objective and the overall strategy to contain the spread of the epidemic.
The Congress also asked the government to reveal its exit strategy from lockdown 3.0, its roadmap to check unemployment and revival of the economy.
Addressing the press, Congress communication department head Randeep Surjewala asked when the lockdowns will finally end. He said the Government extended the lockdown by merely issuing an order. Neither the Prime Minister nor the Home Minister spoke to the country.
“No one heard the mann ki baat of fellow Indians nor did we hear Modiji’s mann ki baat and there was no one to answer to lakhs of questions, doubts and apprehensions,” he said.
“What is the aim of lockdown 3.0? What is the purpose, the objective and the strategy? …Will there be a lockdown 4.0 and lockdown 5.0 in the future? When will it end completely? What is the goalpost to deal with Coronavirus and economic pandemic by May 17…What are the achievable goals by May 17 to deal with infection and address livelihood challenges and huge economic crisis? What concrete and positive steps will be initiated by May 17?,” he asked. Moreover, what is the exit strategy from lockdown 3.0, he asked.
“What is the thought and policy of Prime Minister Narendra Modi? What is the road map, not only for harvesting and grant of MSP to the farmers, but also for sowing of the next kharif crops and availability of fertilizers, seeds, and pesticides? What are the arrangements for ensuring livelihood and ration for over 40 crore urban and village poor and labourers?”
“What is the relief package for 4.25 crore MSMEs generating 11 crore employment? How do you propose to ensure jobs and pay protection for middle class and salaried people? What is the strategy for revival and restarting the tourism & hotel industry, textile industry, construction industry, automobile and IT Industry, transport & aviation industry and other such sectors? What is the timeline for safe and time bound return of nearly 8 to 10 Cr migrant labours?” he asked.
On the migrant labour issue, the Congress once again asked the Government to arrange sanitizied special trains and ensure free travel of lakhs of stranded migrant labourers within the next 15 days. “This should be treated as the first responsibility of the Government,” he said.
The CPM hit out at the Centre saying it is shocking and condemnable that apart from giving instructions to State Governments, the Central Government is refusing to take any financial responsibility. “Why are migrants being charged for these trains? Where are the thousands of crores in the PM named fund for which people have been forced to contribute? What is the money being used for?” said party general secretary Sitaram Yechury.
“Migrant workers boarding trains from various places to return home are being forced to pay for their own tickets and also for food. Those who have been asked to board buses are being forced to pay exorbitant rates for travel. It is sheer cruelty to expect workers who have absolutely no earnings for the last two months because of the lockdown to pay for their own train tickets. Nor can the State Governments bear this financial expenditure when they have not received any help whatsoever from the Central Government,” the CPM said in a statement.
Surjewala also demanded that the crops of farmers be procured at MSP prices and payment be made within 24 hours. “The entire outstanding amount, be it of the sugarcane farmers or other farmers should be cleared within seven days. All recoveries of the farmers should be deferred for one year and interest waived,” he said.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines