Home covid ‘It’s a short lockdown, don’t leave Delhi’: Kejriwal’s appeal to migrant workers

‘It’s a short lockdown, don’t leave Delhi’: Kejriwal’s appeal to migrant workers

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Migrant workers are seen at Anand Vihar Bus Terminal (ISBT) as they head to their native place amid fears of a total lockdown due to the surge in COVID-19 cases, in New Delhi, India, on Sunday, April 18, 2021
Hindustan Times

Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal on Monday announced a six-day lockdown from April 19 (Monday) night to April 26 (next Monday) morning.

Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal on Monday announced a six-day Covid-19 lockdown from 10pm on April 19 till 5am on April 26 and urged migrant workers to not leave the national capital during this period. Kejriwal pointed out that its duration being only six days, the present lockdown was a relatively “short” one, and promised that the government will “take care” of the migrant workers through this crisis. He also assured that the Delhi government will be working hard to ensure adequate medical facilities in the national capital and remained hopeful that the government won’t need to extend the current lockdown any further.

‘I appeal to you with folded hands. It’s a small lockdown, only for six days. Don’t leave Delhi and go. I am very hopeful and that we won’t need to further extend the lockdown. The government will take care of you,” news agency ANI quoted Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal as saying.

Lockdown-like measures introduced by several state governments usually spell a loss of livelihood for many migrant workers working in India’s major cities. These migrant workers, who form an essential part of any city’s economy, faced difficulties when the Centre imposed its first lockdown in 2020 following the first wave of Covid-19. Most of them were unable to find transport and had to walk home in desperation and many died due to exertion and lack of food.
Fearing a rerun of the 2020 situation, migrant workers have once again started returning to their native places this year, afraid that the Covid-19 situation may turn from bad to worse and that they may lose their jobs amid the lockdown like last year. “I worked at a food processing plant in Bahadurgarh, Haryana. There was very little work, so I decided to return home and help my family in the fields. If the Covid-19 cases go down, I will go back,” 38-year-old Ravindra Pal Singh, a resident of Basti district, told the Hindustan Times while boarding a train home from New Delhi railway station last week. While several state governments have decided to test migrant workers, they are yet to open quarantine centres and deploy rural health infrastructure personnel to track the returnees.
Hundreds of migrant workers on Sunday were stranded in Uttar Pradesh’s Kanpur as the government’s Sunday lockdowns affected public transport. The situation is the same across India, where the recent spike in coronavirus disease (Covid-19) cases have cast its shadow on trade and business with migrant workers bearing the brunt of strict restrictions put in place by states.

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