The nationwide lockdown was announced on March 24 at short notice. This created agony among hundreds of workers all over India. This turmoil has a long aching story of them. They have gone through the anguish and most challenging situation. I might not express here, but some points and facts are defined to understand their painful conditions. Four crore migrant labourers are engaged in various works in different parts of the country, and so far 75 lakh migrants are working during the lockdown.
They dealt with multiple issues; somewhere they needed care and help, but they did not get on time. Some critical problems which they faced are- loss of income; Food shortage; Uncertainty; Lack of water during the hot summer days; No means of transformation; The long way by feet and not a cup of tea; Lack of money; No safe place while walking to stay with their families and more.
Regrettably, last week in one of the Lok Sabha sessions, the central government said that there is no data maintained for the death of migrant workers across the country. This fact has hit me hard as I believe that every life is equally valuable. This statement is shocking. Various organizations collected data on migrant workers’ deaths, and ironically the government has no data regarding that.
Various cases have not been registered yet—hundreds of workers lost their lives while coming back to their homes after losing their job.
A report brought by the Jan Sahas (NGO) after the rapid assessment of over 3000 construction workers in the early days of the lockdown found out that 92% of the labourers had “already lost work ranging from the first week to the third week of the month”. As per the data which is available on the website of Public Interest Technologies Thejesh G.N, 900 people died due to various reasons. Some stories told by the victims’ families are:
There were at least 1,461 accidents throughout the nationwide lockdown – from March 25 to May 31 – in which at least 750 people were killed, including 198 migrant workers. There were 1,390 who got injured, according to the data.
Fatigue of bus and truck drivers. Over speeding transport. The low manufacturing of roads as the top reason for deaths. They could not get the right treatment and help during this crisis. Some of them could not get food and water during the crisis. Lack of treatment due to fear of infection.
Whatever happened can not be changed, neither can we bring them back who lost their valuable lives. But one thing we can do is to help financially to their families and looking for some job opportunities still since we all are facing a financial crisis as well.