Headlines March 30, 2020
Centre demands closing down of state borders amidst Coronavirus spread
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi had declared a complete lockdown of India for the next three weeks. This initiative was taken to control spread of Coronavirus across state borders. This is in the wake of thousands of migrant labourers from Delhi leaving to their homes in rural villages near Delhi. Reportedly, this was because they did not have a place to stay or adequate food and water during the lockdown period. In photos and videos that did the rounds on social media, these workers could be seen thronging bus stations in thousands which was clearly against the government’s demand of keeping social distancing.
On Sunday, the central government said that all states must seal their borders and ensure that daily wage workers get food and place to stay till the lockdown is over on 14 April. Those who have breached the lockdown and reached their homes must be placed in quarantine for 14 days.
“Over 1.5-2 lakh migrant workers who left New Delhi for different villages & districts of Uttar Pradesh this week would be now quarantined for two weeks in their villages/hometowns. Local administration has been instructed. Migrants to be identified. Infrastructure being prepared’, tweeted journalist Aditya Raj Kaul.
A heart-wrenching sight
Many migrant labourers along with their families could be seen walking hundreds of kilometres in order to reach their hometowns. Both Delhi state and central governments received a lot of criticism for not ensuring safety of the workers. A 39 year old delivery agent Ranveer Singh, who was walking to his hometown, collapsed on his way and died. He had walked over 200 kms to reach his home in Madhya Pradesh and died on the highway in Agra.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal announced that the state government is ready to pay the house rent of all the migrant workers and requested them to stay back wherever they are.
“Maharashtra is full of migrant labourers from UP And Bihar. Most are staying put, some have already left to their home states, but never have I seen such panic and desperation as in Delhi. This is sinister. Very very sinister”, tweeted Author Shefali Vaidya.
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