Letters

Letters to the Editor — May 18, 2020

En route home

In the midst of a national lockdown that seems to be stretching out, the condition of hungry and homesick migrant workers caught between a situation of ‘no employment, no earnings’ and their dire necessity to sustain themselves has become most heart rending. It becomes an emotive issue if one considers that these workers have to cross a divide of thousands of kilometres in order to get back to some sort of security and the comfort of home (Inside pages, May 17).

In the face of impediments such as language, culture, the absence of family and the worry of unemployment, to say that they are suffering would be an understatement. How they are keeping themselves alive with no idea of where the next meal will come from is moving. In the lockdown situation, they have hardly anyone to fall back on. And with public transport suspended, their state of physical discomfort and emotional shock increases.

In such circumstances, their return home should have been arranged with all stops pulled out. When many of us are silenced and moved to tears by the images of suffering and also their steel-hearted determination to overcome the odds, one wonders why officials are still dithering over helping them.

The stranded migrants must be sent back to their home States by operating more trains and arranging for last-mile connectivity by operating road transport exclusively for them. If elaborate and “branded” arrangements can be made to bring back Indians stranded in foreign countries in similar conditions, why the deafening silence over unfortunate migrant labour?

R. Sampath,

Chennai

A ‘package’ out of sync?

 

One fails to understand in the immediate situation of the COVID-19 pandemic, how allowing greater private participation in the coal and space sectors will provide relief to Indians, especially the poor (Page 1, “Govt. throws open defence production and coal sectors”, May 17). The fourth “tranche of economic stimulus” can at best be classified as long-term reforms and should be done through the legislation route and not through the ordinance route. Moreover, including the fourth tranche in the ₹20-lakh crore package is again odd. Even when the package was announced, it already took into account half the earlier expenditure. The need of the hour is to provide short-term relief in the form of cash transfers, loan waivers and compensation to the needy. Is anyone listening?

Shabana Parvez,

Roorkee, Uttarakhand

The hefty stimulus package announced by the Centre will only dampen the hopes of migrant workers. The huge scheme has largely offered them food grains and nothing more. The mega-package has failed to focus on the plight of those worst affected; they have not only lost their livelihoods but are also losing their lives in their valiant attempts to reunite with their families. The narrative of their arduous journey amidst scarcity of food and the often ruthless behaviour of State officials is saddening. The “smart attempt” to boost the economy by handing out loans, privatisation and space exploration ventures is not going to help this important section of India. A large chunk of the Finance Minister’s announcements are applicable and relevant only in a normal, post-pandemic world.

Deepika Jain,

New Delhi

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Printable version | Jun 4, 2020 2:10:31 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/letters/letters-to-the-editor-may-18-2020/article31609822.ece

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