- Distressing images of migrant labourers marching to their home towns soon after the declaration of national lockdown is one lingering visual which will remain etched in our collective memories forever. People glued to their television screens across the country eager to know on the then uncertain paraphernalia associated with the virus were aghast at the sight of millions of migrant labourers walking, trudging, cycling, and hopping on to any available mode of transportation on the highways. Yes, it was so disturbing and heart-wrenching. The governments did facilitate food and shelter to this workforce along the way, but the sheer number of people completely overwhelmed whatever help system was at hand.
PC: Sesa Sen
- As the novel coronavirus situation was gradually brought under some semblance of control, the reverse migration did take place as millions of labourers devoid of decent living and job opportunities started arriving at erstwhile workplaces in search of livelihood. Indeed, after months of stalled economic activities and especially, infrastructure-related construction undertakings laying out the red carpet for the indispensable workforce to join the bandwagon, it appeared the fortune of these workers was on the ascendancy yet again. Post-Diwali last year, things looked to be heading to normalcy as every available indicator showed.
- However, the dangers of the ominous virus lurking around was always posing uncomfortable questions as many European and western countries were witnessing many waves severely destabilizing the plans to revert to normalcy. India could sail through the first covid wave without great loss of lives but unquestionably, livelihoods of millions were destroyed is stating the obvious. Now, the resurgence of the second covid wave is frightening as the infection rates are crossing the six-figure mark with alarming regularity with no signs of slowing down in the near foreseeable future.
PC: Ashish Joshi
- Under the dire circumstances visible courtesy mounting infection cases which portends severe trouble for the country, the unravelling duplicity of the politicos is not only hard to digest but also raises questions about their priority. The blatant manner with which the election rallies are being organized showing little regard for the safety and health guidelines in vogue demonstrates the hypocrisy of the political leaders, irrespective of party affiliations. Huge congregations without masks and social distancing is a veritable invitation for trouble and the virus is having a field day in devouring the populace with absolute glee.
- As the second wave spreads, many state governments are resorting to night curfews, sorry corona curfews, limited weekend lockdowns, and in some cities complete lockdowns. This has triggered the migrant labourers to fear for their safety and is making abundantly clear about their intentions to head back home. Officials concerned should take note of this grave situation by proactively initiating measures to not only assure these workforces about looking after their lives and livelihood but also provide enough job opportunities to make them stay. Blunt and illogical instruments like lockdowns in whatever form is/will be disastrous.