Migrant Workers in India & Their Incessant Plight in Lockdown

migrant workers in india

As the sun begins to shine on the shore with the arrival of a new day, a migrant’s forehead beams with the copious sweat he burns by carrying the unbearable weights tied to the manacles of laws. These are the laws that must be in their favor but somehow, are not. The migrants walk with their bags while they drag themselves on foot. The plight of migrant workers in India is only increasing day by day. Why? Because they are not only jobless but also homeless.

The latest Census of India data report says there are around 4 crore migrant laborers across India. It is said that around 80 lakhs have been returned to their native states safely. The incessant battle fought by the workers is only coming to the world through images and videos. The tremendous lack of systematic order between the Central and State governments has only, in turn, made the loopholes clear for people to see.

Poverty, homelessness, unemployment are the things that are already walking beside the workers. The number of people who lost their lives while migrating during such crises is utterly heartbreaking. These workers only left for their native states to be guaranteed of safety and protection. Unfortunately, some of these workers lost their lives before they could reach home.

There are certain questions to the Government

Who is to be blamed for the lack of order for the migrants? The Migrants make around 10% of the GDP. Why is there not enough procedure to send them off home even after 60 days of a nationwide lockdown? Why is there a delay in every train that is supposed to lead them home? We are still seeing images and videos of the struggles shared by the workers. It does not stop right here. Why are the trains only adding more to the problems of these workers by not providing enough precautionary measures and hygienic travel? Authorities sprayed disinfectants on the migrants, in the name of precautionary measures.

While the entire world is fighting a pandemic, the migrants are fighting a different fight. A fight that just ends when they reach home safely. The sight of these workers fighting the battle to return home will be remembered as a consequence of the pandemic. It will be remembered as, also, a failure in the name of government. 

What has been utterly absurd is how the politics has played its role in the homelessness and plight of these migrants. In times like these, our country needs its politicians to come together and fight the virus out.

While the entire world is propagating the idea of sanitation and personal hygiene, thousands of people barely understand the meaning of it as the conditions of trains and buses are not only infelicitous but also ghastly. A family lost their 10-month-old son in a Shramik train in Uttar Pradesh because railways could not arrange a doctor. A 46-year-old man died of hunger as the man did not have food in the past 60 hours. Also, with no food or water, they are still keeping their spirit high only to get home. The death toll has reached 9 of people travelling in Shramik trains.

people waiting for trains in mumbai; migrant workers in India
People waiting for trains outside CST Terminal, Mumbai

A tragic video from a station in Bihar emerged on the Social Media of a toddler trying to wake up his dead mother. According to the family, the woman died of dehydration and hunger.

child trying to wake up dead mother, bihar
plight of migrant workers in India
Child trying to revive dead mother at Bihar station.

The questions highlighted by the media today are the direct questions to the government. Moreover, a Government that accepts criticism with the same fervor as appreciation, is a Government that makes way for good Democracy. We as a Democracy, demand answers with peace amongst all sectors of our nation.

To conclude, the plight of migrant workers in India must end as we complete 65 days of lockdown. Holding a belief that the Government is only a human body, it should not be forgotten that to err is human. It is the citizens who make the government. To ask questions and gradually pushing the government to work harder is the beauty of democracy.

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By Navya Joshi
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