Covid-19: Exodus of migrant workers triggered by ‘fake news, panic,’ govt says in Parliament | India News

NEW DELHI: The home ministry has said that the Centre has no record of migrant labourers who died while returning home during the countrywide lockdown following the corona pandemic.
This was stated by minister of state for home affairs Nityanand Rai on Tuesday, in a written reply to a question on ”protection of migrants and labourers before the lockdown” asked by Trinamool Congress Lok Sabha member Mala Roy.
To a specific query on “the number of migrant labourers who died on the way home,” the minister replied saying: “The details regarding the number of migrant workers who died while returning to their home States is not centrally maintained,” as part of the unstarred question number 327 in Lok Sabha.
Roy had asked “Will the minister of home affairs be pleased to state:
(a) the steps taken to protect migrant labourers before lockdown was announced on March 25 alongwith the details thereof; (b) the reasons why thousands of these labourers ended up walking home post lockdown; and (c) the number of migrants labourers who died on the way home?”
The minister, in his reply also stated that the large scale exodus of migrant workers from their workplaces to their home states was triggered by ‘fake news’ that generated panic among them. “The migration of large number of migrant workers was triggered by panic created by fake news regarding duration of lockdown, and people, especially migrant labourers, were worried about adequate supply of basic necessities like food, drinking water, health services and shelter.”
It said the Centre was “fully conscious of this, and took all necessary measures to ensure that during the period of the inevitable lockdown, no citizen should be deprived of basic amenities of food, drinking water, medical facilities etc.”
The replies 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…
It said: “Central government allowed the state governments to use the State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF) on 28th March itself for making provisions of temporary accommodation, food, clothing, medical care, etc., to homeless people as well as migrant workers. To augment the funds with the States, Central Government released an advance Rs 11,092 crores from the SDRF to the States on 3rd April, 2020.”

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