NEW DELHI: The Interior Ministry has said the Center has no data on migrant workers who died while returning home during the nationwide blockade following the coron pandemic.
This was stated by the Minister of State for Internal Affairs Nityanand Rai on Tuesday, in a written response to a question on “protection of migrants and workers before the blockade” asked by Trinamool Congress member Lok Sabha, Mala Roy.
To a specific question about the number of migrant workers who died on the way home, the minister responded by saying: Details about the number of migrant workers who died while returning to their countries are not kept in the center, as part of the number of questions of 327 stars in Lok Sabha.
Roy had asked Will the Home Secretary be pleased to state:
(a) the steps taken to protect migrant workers before the blockade was announced on 25 March together with its details; (b) the reasons why thousands of these workers ended up walking home after the blockage; and (c) the number of migrant workers who died on the way home?
The Minister, in his response also stated that the large-scale exodus of migrant workers from their workplaces to their states was caused by the ‘false news’ that created panic among them. The migration of a large number of migrant workers was caused by the panic created by the false news about the duration of the blockade, and people, especially migrant workers, were concerned about the adequate supply of basic needs such as food, drinking water, services health and housing.
She said that the Center was fully aware of this and took all necessary measures to ensure that during the period of inevitable blockage, no citizen was deprived of basic amenities of food, drinking water, medical facilities, etc.
Responses from the Minister for part (a) and (b) stated, to contain the spread of Covid-19, the government took various measures, considered essential for the safety of people, including migrant workers …
He said: The central government allowed state governments to use the State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF) on March 28 itself to take temporary housing, food, clothing, medical care, etc., for homeless people as well as workers migrants. To increase funding with the States, the Central Government issued an advance of Rs 11,092 crore from the SDRF to the States on April 3, 2020.
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