Provide food and shelter to migrant workers, MHA tells states as lockdown leaves thousands stranded

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Published: March 27, 2020 4:56 PM

The MHA has asked states and UTs to take immediate steps to provide food and shelter to migrant agricultural labourers, industrial workers and other unorganised sector workers during the 21-day nationwide lockdown.

Daily wage labourers walk along an expressway in Delhi-NCR region hoping to reach their homes following a 21-day lockdown due to coronavirus. AP Photo

The Ministry of Home Affairs has written to states and Union Territories, asking them to provide adequate support to migrant workers in their respective limits. News agency ANI reported that Home Secretary AK Bhalla, in his letter to states and UTs, asked them to take immediate steps to provide food and shelter to migrant agricultural labourers, industrial workers and other unorganised sector workers during the 21-day nationwide lockdown.

The Home Ministry has also advised governments to make these people aware of the measures taken by the government including the provision of free food grains and other essential items through public distribution system and streamline the distribution system.

Today is the third day of the 21-day nationwide lockdown announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to check the spread of coronavirus. Road, rail and air traffic has been suspended fully to prevent mass gathering and thus the further transmission of the deadly disease. The lockdown has left thousands of labourers, industrial workers and other unorganized sector workers stranded in different cities.

The MHA also asked them to explore measures by involving various agencies, including NGOs, to provide food and shelter with basic amenities like clean drinking water, sanitation etc.

“States and UTs have been requested to make arrangements for food, water & sanitation for the migrant labourers. Hotels and rented accommodation should stay open and functional, while taking all the COVID-19 precautions,” Punya Salila Srivastava, MHA Joint Secretary, said.

The MHA appeal comes in the wake of multiple reports claiming that daily wage workers have now started leaving cities on their feet in the wake of non-availability of food and public transport.

According to Health Ministry data, the country has so far reported 724 confirmed coronavirus. A total of 17 people have lost their lives.

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