Coronavirus lockdown | Chidambaram asks government to facilitate travel of migrant workers

He says their desire to be back cannot be ‘suppressed for long in the name of a lockdown’

April 24, 2020 01:06 pm | Updated April 25, 2020 01:52 am IST - New Delhi

Former finance minister P. Chidambaram. File.

Former finance minister P. Chidambaram. File.

Former Finance Minister P. Chidambaram on Friday asked the government to facilitate the travel of migrant workers to their hometowns under strict conditions of health and safety.

In a series of tweets, Mr. Chidambaram cautioned the government that the desire of the people to be among their own could not be ‘suppressed for long in the name of a lockdown’.

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“The overwhelming mood and desire among migrant persons (and their families) is that, after May 3, they should be allowed to go back to their home states/villages. The desire to go back to their home states, to join their families, and to be among their own language-speaking people is an overpowering desire that cannot be suppressed for too long in the name of a lockdown,” the former Union Minister said.

In a resolution on Thursday, the Congress Working Committee (CWC) — the party’s highest decision-making body — urged the government to arrange for the return of the migrant workers to their hometowns.

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“The CWC draws the attention of the Central Government to the necessity of framing a policy under which migrant workers who wish to return to their home states/villages (1) may be allowed to travel under strict conditions of health safety, (2) be provided with adequate money and food in the interim; (3) be allowed to return to work post the lockdown (4) compensation for the families of those migrant workers who have lost their lives in this period of crisis,” the CWC resoution said.

Citing this resolution, Mr Chidambaram said, “Yesterday, CWC has rightly called upon the government to frame a humane policy that, after May 3, will allow migrant persons to travel to their home states, under strict conditions of health safety”.

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