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Majority of migrants seek travel assistance amid COVID-19 lockdown, reveals survey

Almost 70 per cent of migrant workers who want to return home were in need of travel arrangements and 60 per cent in need of money.

Published: 14th May 2020 09:54 AM  |   Last Updated: 14th May 2020 09:54 AM   |  A+A-

Passengers waiting at Bhubaneswar railway station to board a special train to New Delhi in Bhubaneswar

Passengers waiting at Bhubaneswar railway station to board a special train to New Delhi in Bhubaneswar. (photo| Biswanath Swain, EPS)

Express News Service

NEW DELHI: Travel arrangements and money are the top concerns of the stranded migrant workers, apart from depleting ration. Almost 70 per cent of migrant workers who want to return home were in need of travel arrangements and 60 per cent in need of money, a rapid assessment survey by civil society organizations of migrants in three states showed.

The survey was conducted between April 23 and May 1 by Habitat Forum, Centre for Labour Research and Action, and Mashal with the Department of Sociology at Savitribai Phule Pune University.  Of the 592 respondents, 341 workers who were telephonically interviewed were stuck in Maharashtra, 200 in Gujarat and 51 in Rajasthan.

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Over 20 per cent of the respondents in Gujarat and Maharashtra had ration left for zero-two days at the time of being interviewed. In Maharashtra, around 50 per cent said they had ration left for three to 10 days while in Gujarat, 42 per cent said they had ration only for three-five days.

Seventy-one per cent of the brick kiln workers, over 60 per cent of the textile workers, 88 per cent of farm labourers and 92 per cent of the sugarcane cutters interviewed said they had not received any payment during the lockdown.

The respondents also reported lack of assurance of job post-lockdown and change in attitude of employers during the lockdown, with the migrants being forced to work in some instances and having no contact with the employers. 

In Maharashtra, 60 per cent of workers had bank accounts and 58 per cent had ration cards as compared with 54 per cent having bank accounts and 57 per cent possessing ration cards in Gujarat. In Rajasthan, 84 per cent of the interviewees had ration cards. The government should focus on universalisation of public distribution system for people to access foodgrains, the assessment report suggested.

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