National

An urgent appeal for immediate assistance to migrant workers

A scene of migrant workers at Kaushambi Bus Terminal on Delhi-Uttar Pradesh Border after bus services resumed, on March 28, 2020. | Photo Credit: Sandeep Saxena
The Hindu Net Desk 28 March 2020 17:42 IST
Updated: 28 March 2020 23:26 IST

The sudden imposition of a 21-day all-India lockdown on March 24, 2020, at just 4 hours’ notice, has led to horrific consequences for many.

Here's the full text of an urgent appeal by over 200 academics and professionals for providing immmediate relief to the migrant workers who are unable to reach their homes due to the current lockdown.

This is an urgent appeal for assistance to migrant workers who are unable to reach their homes due to the current lockdown – free food, medical care and sanitation at the very least.

Also read: Masks, hand sanitisers now under Essential Commodities Act

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The sudden imposition of a 21-day all-India lockdown on March 24, 2020, at just 4 hours’ notice, has led to horrific consequences for many. This decision, taken without proper planning, completely overlooked the disastrous impact it would have on 90 percent of our labour force. Extremely disturbing reports of the plight of lakhs of migrant labourers in different parts of the country keep pouring in. Many of them are stranded and starving in the industrial belts where they work. In the absence of any transport, many are walking hundreds of kilometres to their villages on a hungry stomach. Others, in desperation, are packing themselves in lorries, at the risk of contracting or spreading the virus.

We make this urgent plea to the Central Government to pay heed to the situation immediately. The government must use the network of anganwadis, panchayat bhavans, government schools, government colleges, railway stations, bus stations, community halls, block offices, district headquarters etc to set up feeding centres to arrange free cooked food, medical care and sanitation. Foodgrains to the tune of 585 lakh metric tonnes are available in godowns of the Food Corporation of India (FCI) and Central Warehousing Corporation (even before the wheat harvest). Some of it can be used to prepare cooked meals and/or take-home rations in these centres. This assistance should be available to all unconditionally, without any paperwork. This will still leave more than enough food in the godowns to fulfil the Finance Minister’s announcements and maintain adequate buffer stocks.

We also urge the government to immediately arrange for sanitised bus and train services to enable stranded workers to reach home safely. Others trapped at their distant workplaces must be assured of a secure living space with enough food, soap, sanitary pads and medical care. This is a national emergency and lakhs of people are in danger of perishing in hunger and trauma. We therefore make this urgent appeal for an immediate response to the humanitarian crisis, to prevent it from snowballing further.

Also read: Coronavirus | Lockdown forces migrant workers to walk from Manesar to home in Uttar Pradesh

Endorsements (in alphabetical order of first name)

  1. Aaditeshwar Seth, Gram Vaani and IIT Delhi
  2. Aarti, Biologist, Hyderabad
  3. Abey George, Associate Professor, Kerala Institute of Local Administration
  4. Abhijit Sen, JNU
  5. Abhiman Das, IIM Ahmedabad
  6. Aditya Bhattacharjea, Professor of Economics, Delhi School of Economics
  7. Akash Bhattacharya, Azim Premji University, Bangalore
  8. Akoijam sunita, Independent writer
  9. Akshaya Tankha, Ph.D. Candidate, University of Toronto
  10. Alex Thomas, Azim Premji University, Bangalore
  11. Alisa Blinova, USA
  12. Alok Laddha, Chennai Mathematical Institute, Chennai
  13. Ambarish Rai, National Convenor, RTE Forum
  14. Amit Basole, Azim Premji University, Bangalore
  15. Amrita Johri, Satark Nagrik Sangathan, Delhi
  16. Anand Shrivastava, Azim Premji University, Bangalore
  17. Anand T. Vaidya, Reader, TIFR Hyderabad
  18. Anindita Adhikari, Doctoral Student, Brown University
  19. Anivar Aravind, Bangalore
  20. Anjali Bhardwaj, Satark Nagrik Sangathan
  21. Anjali Noronha, Concerned Citizen, Bhopal
  22. Anjor Bhaskar, Azim Premji University, Bangalore
  23. Ankita Aggarwal, Doctoral Student, City University of New York
  24. Ankur Paliwal, Land Conflict Watch, Independent Journalist
  25. Ankur Sarin, Faculty, Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad
  26. Annie Raja, National Federation of Indian Women, Delhi
  27. Anuradha Dutta, Concerned Citizen, Delhi
  28. Anwar Jafri, Samavesh , Bhopal
  29. Apar Gupta, Internet Freedom Foundation
  30. Aparna Vaidik. Associate Professor, Ashoka University, Kundli, Haryana
  31. Apurva Barmezai, Doctoral Student, University of Pennsylvania
  32. Ardhendu Sen, Former Chief Secretary, Govt. of West Bengal
  33. Arif Ghauri, Former Governance Adviser, DFID, Govt. of the United Kingdom
  34. Arjun Jayadev, Azim Premji University, Bangalore
  35. Arun Maira, Management Consultant and Former Member, Planning Commission
  36. Aruna Roy, Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sangathan
  37. Arundhati Dhuru, Social Activist, NAPM Uttar Pradesh.
  38. Ashish Ranjan, Jan Jagran Shakti Sangathan
  39. Ashok Kotwal, Professor Emeritus, University of British Columbia
  40. Ashok Kumar Sharma, IFS (Retd.), Former Ambassador to Finland and Estonia
  41. Ashwini Kulkarni, Pragati Abhiyan, Nashik
  42. Atanu Sen, Vikramshila, Kolkata
  43. Avani Chokshi, CPI (ML), Bangalore
  44. Bobby Mahapatra, Texas A&M University
  45. Brinda Pancholi, Freelance Consultant, Bangalore
  46. C P Chandraskhar, JNU
  47. Chakradhar Buddha, LibTech India
  48. Chandrika R, Software Engineer
  49. Cheryl Dsouza, Campaign for Judicial Accountability and Reforms
  50. Danish Khan, Concerned Citizen, Bhopal
  51. Deb Mukharji, IFS (Retd.), Former High Commissioner to Bangladesh and former Ambassador to Nepal
  52. Debjani Sengupta, Professor, Delhi University
  53. Debmalya Nandi, Social Activist, Bangalore
  54. Debraj Ray, Professor, New York University
  55. Deepika Joshi, Jan Swasthya Abhiyan, Chhattisgarh
  56. Dipa Sinha, Ambedkar University, Delhi
  57. Dr Sylvia Karpagam, Public health doctor and researcher, Karnataka
  58. Dr Vasu H V, Jagruta Karnataka and Gauri Media
  59. Dr. Rama V. Baru, Professor, Centre for Social Medicine and Community Health, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi
  60. Dr. Sanjaya Baru, Former Advisor to Prime Minister of India
  61. Dr.Asifa Nisar, Women's wing, AIMPLB Bengaluru
  62. Dr.K.V.Ramaswamy, Professor, Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research
  63. Farman, Concerned Citizen
  64. Farzana Afridi, Associate Professor of Economics, Indian Statistical Institute, New Delhi
  65. G. Balachandhran, Retd IAS, Former Additional Chief Secretary, Govt. of West Bengal
  66. G. Sankaran, IC&CES (Retd.), Former President, Customs, Excise and Gold (Control) Appellate Tribunal
  67. Gabriele Dietrich, Penn Urimay Iyakkam, Madurai, NAPM Tamil Nadu.
  68. Gaurav Datt, Associate Professor of Economics, Monash University
  69. Gaurav Singh, Right to food Campaign, Chhattisgarh
  70. Gautam Mody, General Secretary, National Trade Union Initiative
  71. Geetha Menon, Stree Jagruti Samiti, Bangalore
  72. Geetha Thoopal, IRAS (Retd.), Former General Manager, Metro Railway, Kolkata
  73. Harsh Mander, social activist
  74. Himanshu, JNU
  75. Himshi Singh, Social Activist, Himachal Pradesh and NAPM.
  76. Indrajit Bose, Climate Change Researcher
  77. Indrani Gupta, Professor, Institute of Economic Growth
  78. Indrani Gupta, Professor, Institute of Economic Growth, Delhi
  79. Ishita Aggarwal Choudhary, Consultant
  80. Jasmeeta Dubey, Concerned Citizen
  81. Jawahar Mehta, VSK, Palamu,Jharkhand
  82. Jayati Ghosh, JNU
  83. Jayati Sarkar, Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research, Mumbai
  84. Jean Dreze, Visiting Professor, Department of Economics, Ranchi University
  85. Jitendra Rathod, Social Activist, Ahmedabad
  86. Jyothi Krishnan, Social Accountability Resource Unit
  87. K. Nagaraj, Adjunct Faculty, Asian College of Journalism
  88. Kade Finoff, Azim Premji University, Bangalore
  89. Kalpana Kannabiran, Professor & Director, Council for Social Development, Hyderabad
  90. Karen Coelho, Associate Professor, Madras Institute of Development Studies, Chennai.
  91. Karuna DW, Visiting faculty, Azim Premji University
  92. Karuna M, Rural Development Consultant, Chennai
  93. Kavitha Srinivasan, Bangalore
  94. Koninika, National Federation of Indian Women
  95. Kripal Singh Mandloi, Khudai Khidmatgar, MP
  96. Kshiraja Krishnan, Bangalore
  97. Kumar Sambhav Shrivastava, Land Conflicts Watch
  98. Leela Visaria, Honorary Professor, Gujarat Institute of Development Research
  99. M.G. Devasahayam, IAS (Retd.), Former Secretary, Govt. of Haryana
  100. M.R. Sharan, Doctoral Student, Harvard University
  101. Madhu Bhushan, Gamana Mahila Samuha, Bangalore
  102. Maheen Mirza, Independent Awards Winning Filmmaker, Bhopal
  103. Maitreesh Ghatak, Professor, Department of Economics, London School of Economics
  104. Manjula, General Secretary, Karnataka Sex Workers Union,
  105. Manohar Elavarthi, Swaraj Abhiyan, Bengaluru
  106. Mashqura Fareedi, Bangalore
  107. Mausumi Das, Associate Professor, Delhi School of Economics
  108. Medha Patkar, Narmada Bachao Andolan and NAPM.
  109. Meena Gupta, Former Secretary, Ministry of Environment & Forests, GoI
  110. Meena Seshu, Sangli, Maharashtra
  111. Meera Sanghamitra, National Alliance of People's Movements (NAPM), Telangana
  112. Monica Thomas, Consultant Neurologist, New Delhi
  113. Nachiket Udupa, Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sangathan
  114. Nalini Nayak, Retired Associate Professor, PGDAV(M) College, Delhi
  115. Naman Aggarwal, New Delhi
  116. Naman Garg, research scholar, Columbia University
  117. Nandini Nayak, Ambedkar University, Delhi
  118. Narendra Gupta, Prayas, Rajasthan
  119. Naresh Saxena, Retired bureaucrat and former Member, Planning Commission
  120. Navdeep Mathur, IIM Ahmedabad
  121. Navrekha Sharma, IFS (Retd.), Former Ambassador to Indonesia
  122. Nawasha Mishra, Right to Food Campaign, New Delhi
  123. Neeta Hardikar, Anna Suraksha Adhikar Abhiya, Gujarat
  124. Nikhil Dey, Jan Sarokar
  125. Nirmal Kumar Shukla, Concerned Citizen, Hoshangabad
  126. Nitin Desai, Former Chief Economic Adviser
  127. Nitin Sethi, Independent Journalist
  128. Nupur Samuel , OP Jindal Global University, Sonepat, Haryana
  129. Odisha khadya Adhikar Abhiyan
  130. Paaritosh Nath, Azim Premji University, Bengaluru
  131. Padmapriya, Delhi
  132. Pallavi Gupta, Independent Consultant- Public Health, New Delhi
  133. Pankti Jog, RTI activist, Gujarat
  134. Parth Shah, President, Centre for Civil Society
  135. Paschim Bongo Khet Majoor Samity
  136. Piyuli Ghosh, Concerned Citizen, Bhopal
  137. Poonam Muttreja, Population Foundation of India
  138. Prabhat Patnaik, JNU
  139. Pranab Bardhan, University of California at Berkeley
  140. Pranab Mukhopadhyay, Professor of Economics, Goa University
  141. Prarthna, Ghareloo Mahila Kamgar Adhikar Sangh Bhopal, Bhopal
  142. Prashant Bhushan, Lawyer and Activist
  143. Pratip Chatterjee
  144. Praveen Jha, JNU
  145. Pritha Dev, IIM A
  146. Priya Iyer, Concerned Citizen, Bangalore
  147. Priya Pillai, Mahan Sangharsh Samiti & NAPM (Madhya Pradesh)
  148. Pulin Nayak, Retired Professor of economics, Delhi School of Economics
  149. Pushpendra, Professor and Chairperson, Centre for Development Practice and Research, Tata Institute of Social Sciences
  150. Rahul De, Azim Premji University, Bangalore
  151. Rajendran Narayanan, Assistant Professor, Azim Premji University, Bangalore
  152. Rajesh, Sangama, Bengaluru
  153. Rakshita Swamy, Lead Coordinator, Social Accountability Resource Unit
  154. Ram Singh, Professor of Economics, Delhi School of Economics
  155. Ramachandra Guha, Satish Dhawan Chair Visiting Professor, Indian Institute of Science
  156. Rammanohar Reddy, Editor, ‘The India Forum’
  157. Ravinder Kaur, Professor, IIT Delhi
  158. Reetika Khera, Associate Professor, Indian Institute of Management
  159. Ria Singh Sawhney, Advocate
  160. Rohini Pande, Professor of Economics, Yale University
  161. Rohini Somanathan, Professor, Delhi School of Economics
  162. Rohit Azad, JNU
  163. Rohit Thakur, Narmada Bachao Andolan and NAPM.
  164. Rosey Mukherjee, Individual Volunteer, Bangalore
  165. Rupayan Pal (IGIDR)
  166. S. Mahendra Dev, IGIDR, Mumbai
  167. S.M. Vijayanand, Retired bureauacrat, Former Chief Secretary, Kerala
  168. S.Q. Maqsood, Social Activist, Hyderabad
  169. Saba Khan, Ayurvedic Doctor, Rajgarh
  170. Saba, Insani Biradri, Bhopal
  171. Sachin Jain, Right to Food Campaign
  172. Sakina Dhorajiwala, LibTech India
  173. Sandeep Pandey, Social activist, Socialist party of India
  174. Santosh Panda, Retired Professor, Delhi School of Economics
  175. Saptarshi Guha, Mozilla,San Francisco
  176. Sarika Shrivastava, Action Aid, Bhopal
  177. Savvy Sowmya, Oxfam India, Delhi
  178. Sayandeb Chowdhury, Assistant Professor, Ambedkar University, Delhi
  179. SC Behar, Retd IAS, Madhya Pradesh
  180. Seema, Mahila Manch, Bhopal
  181. Shankar Singh, Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sangathan
  182. Shekhar Singh, Founder Member, National Campaign for People’s Right to Information
  183. Shikha Nehra, Stanford University
  184. Shivan,i concerned citizen, Indore
  185. Shivani Taneja, Muskaan, Bhopal
  186. Shreekant Gupta, Professor, Delhi School of Economics
  187. Shreya Shrivastav, Lawyer
  188. Siraj Dutta, Right to Food Campaign, Jharkhand
  189. Smita Gupta, JNU
  190. Sreenivasan Subramanian, Madras Institute of Development Studies
  191. Srijit Mishra, Professor of Economics, Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research
  192. Subrata Sarkar, IGIDR, Mumbai
  193. Sudha N, Independent Researcher/Activist, Bangalore
  194. Sudha Narayanan, IGIDR, Mumbai
  195. Sugata Bag, Delhi School of Economics
  196. Sujata Visaria, Hong University of Science and Technology
  197. Sujatha Singh, Former Foreign Secretary, GoI
  198. Sumukh Athreya, Software Engineer, Bangalore
  199. Sundar Burra, IAS (Retd.), Former Secretary, Govt. of Maharashtra
  200. Supriya Nayak, Odissi dancer
  201. Surabhi Agarwal, Socialist party (india), Delhi
  202. Surashree Shome, Concerned Citizen, Bangalore
  203. Surender Kumar, Professor of Economics, Delhi School of Economics
  204. Swathi Seshadri, Researcher, Bangalore
  205. Sweta Dash, Right to Food Campaign
  206. T. R. Raghunandan, ex-IAS and development consultant
  207. Tasqeen Machiwala, Concerned Citizen, Bangalore
  208. Tridip Ray, Professor of Economics, Indian Statistical Institute
  209. Utsa Patnaik, JNU
  210. V.P. Raja, Former Chairman, Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission
  211. Venkat Srinivasan, Data Scientist, Bangalore
  212. Vijay Kelkar, Chairman, National Institute of Public Finance and Policy, New Delhi
  213. Vikas Rawal, JNU
  214. Vivek, Software Professional, Hyderabad
  215. Y J Rajendra, PUCL Karnataka
  216. Yogendra Yadav, President, Swaraj India
  217. Zehra Mehdi, Columbia University, New York City
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