NEW DELHI: Over 4,000 signatories, including scholars, retired civil servants, former members of the judiciary, labour activists, and members from civil society organisations, have appealed to the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) to ensure dignified facilities for migrant workers. This move comes amid the large-scale humanitarian crisis unfolding with migrant workers walking to their home states.
According to estimates, despite the provisions made by governments, thousands of migrant workers are walking home and at least 20 per cent of them are still stranded in various locations, said the letter.
The current response strategy with the provision of Shramik Trains have been inadequate, the signatories said. While over 2,000 trains having reportedly carried over 300,000 migrant workers in the last week, there are a significant number of workers who are on the way on foot, and several others who are stranded in shelters and at interstate borders, the signatories said in the appeal.
The letter urges the Centre to improve co-ordination with states and ensure a safe and dignified transportation of migrants including the provision of assistance in their pre-departure and post-arrival arrangements. Currently, the efforts are inadequate and the logistics in providing safety, food and water to migrants on the move is meagre, the signatories said, adding that the Centre should provide financial support to states for migrants' transportation.
They further said that there is an urgent need to include emergency income transfers for a certain period to migrant workers and rehabilitate them.
The appeal pointed out the government had adopted a streamlined facility to bring back Indian citizens stranded abroad. This was in contrast with its efforts to facilitate passage of migrant workers, it said.