April, 2021

Delhi, Maharashtra and several other states have been successively announcing lockdown in response to the Covid 19 situation. Like last year, migrant workers have been left to fend for themselves. While formally there haven't been restrictions on inter-state travel, the unavailability of train tickets has left many stranded. Additionally, private bus tickets are being sold at exorbitant amount.

Last year we saw how lakhs of workers walked huge distances to their hometowns, with Shramik Special trains starting only one month into the lockdown. The frequency of these trains combined with overcrowding lead to even more workers losing their lives during train journeys.

Today we are again seeing workers in Maharashtra and Delhi trying to return back to their hometowns, with their futures uncertain and the promise of a daily wage for basic sustenance becoming more and more distant. Just a few months back we saw a total of 27 special trains being introduced by the Indian Railways for Kumbh pilgrims. Yesterday, 2 special trains were announced for migrant workers from Delhi to Bihar. Migrant workers from Bihar constitute a majority of workers in Delhi as well as other states.

It is clear that no lessons have been learnt over this period of one year, and the same mistakes, rather deliberate negligence is being practiced by those in power.

We demand that the government needs to announce at the earliest the introduction of Shramik Special trains for migrant workers across different states as well as increase the number of government buses to meet the current requirement.