More than one crore migrant labourers returned to their home states on foot during March-June 2020, including those who travelled during the COVID-19 pandemic-induced lockdown, the government said on Tuesday.
“COVID-19 has resulted in migration of large number of workers from destination states to the home-states,” Minister of State for Road Transport and Highways V.K. Singh told Lok Sabha in a written reply.
As per the data compiled by Ministry of Labour and Employment, more than 1.06 crore migrant workers, including those who travelled on foot during the lockdown, returned to their home states, he said.
As per provisional available information, 81,385 accidents occurred on the roads (including national highways) during the period March-June 2020 with 29,415 fatalities, he informed Parliament.
However, he said that the ministry does not maintain separate data in respect of migrant workers who have died in road accidents during the lockdown.
He said the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) issued regular advisories to state/union territories to take all necessary measures to provide shelters, food, water, health facilities and also proper counselling to migrant workers.
“This ministry had assisted the movement of migrant labourers walking on foot on the various national highways all across the country by providing them food, drinking water, basic medicines and foot wears, etc,” the minister said.
They were also provided with the resting places to take rest and assistance in terms of the arrangement of transport with the help of local administration to take them to the places nearest to their destinations, he said.
MHA vide orders dated April 29, 2020, and May 1, 2020, allowed movement of migrant workers to their native places by buses and Shramik special trains, respectively, he said.