Indian government should evacuate its poor from cities

By Ramesh G Jethwani, Bengaluru, India

Published: Sat 28 Mar 2020, 6:32 PM

Last updated: Sat 28 Mar 2020, 8:48 PM

Countries globally have begun enforcing lockdown to prevent the spread of the deadly coronavirus. It is necessary until an effective vaccine is developed soon. In India, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a lockdown on March 24, for 21 days.
It is a praise-worthy step by the government and could prevent more people from getting infected. However, a lot of domestic migrant workers are feeling the heat at the moment. Most of them are daily wage earners from poor Indian states such as Bihar, Jharkhand, who work in big cities to make a living for their families.
They are now left without work and a lot of them are on their way back to their homes, miles away. A lot of them are seen making the arduous journey by foot. The government must take notice of their plight and give strict orders to their employers to allow them to stay at work place. They must be provided with basic food and given a small amount, say Rs1,000 (Dh50) a month to send home until this problem gets over.
It is the need of the hour. We might prevent the poor from a Covid-19 infection but could lose them to hunger.These migrant workers are walking hundreds of kilometres  to reach home in most adverse conditions. They could get infected along the way and spread the infection in their home towns when they reach. India's big corporates, rich people, and philanthropists should  show empathy and kindness for these poor, daily wage workers and others who have been badly affected due to nation-wide lockdown. We should see to it that they eat at least get their daily meals. They are part of us.Perhaps, the Indian government can run special buses to transport them to their homes, if their employers cannot take care of them. Indian government has time and again come to the rescue of expatriates through airlines, they should now do the same domestically using state run buses.

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