NEW DELHI: The Centre on Monday told Parliament that it does not have any data on the number of migrant workers who died during the 68-day lockdown, but said about 1.04 crore workers travelled back to their hometowns during the period.
In a reply to a question in the Lok Sabha, the government also said no compensation has so far been paid to the relatives of the migrant workers who lost their lives during the lockdown.Though the Centre says it does not have data on deaths of migrant workers, the Railway Protection Force (RPF) had revealed in May that at least 80 migrants died on Shramik special trains alone.
Many non-governmental organisations have also put together data on migrant worker deaths during lockdown. The SaveLife Foundation, an NGO working for road safety, on May 31 said, 198 migrant workers have died in road accidents.
“It is shocking that the government says it does not have the data on migrant deaths. It was all over the papers. We have seen reports by independent organisations. Everyone knows there was a crisis,” said a former IIM-A professor, who wished not to be named. A senior official of SHRAM, an NGO, said, “I hope the government will look into this issue better.”
Responding to a question on the status of migrant workers in Tamil Nadu, the Centre said, “India, as a nation, has responded through the Central and state governments, SHGs, RWAs, medical health professionals, sanitation workers as well as several genuine and bonafide NGOs in the nation’s fight against the unprecedented humanitarian crisis due to Covid-19 and the country-wide lockdown.”
32 lakh migrants returned to U.P. According to the government data, over 32 lakh migrant workers returned to their hometowns in Uttar Pradesh amid the lockdown. Bihar drew about 15 lakh people, while Kerala saw nearly 3.1 lakh migrants return. About 72,000 workers returned to Tamil Nadu and 37,050 to Telangana