India’s migrants battle to survive again as COVID cases surge

Maharashtra, India’s biggest hotspot state, is considering a full lockdown. It has already announced a night curfew and full lockdown on the weekends. Other states have announced night curfews too…reports Asian Lite News.

As India witnesses a nationwide surge in COVID-19 cases, the fear of another lockdown has regripped migrant labourers who had just started to resettle in the cities they left during last year’s outbreak.

The number of new coronavirus cases in the country hit a record daily high on Thursday, with over two lakh infections being reported in a day, according to the Union Health Ministry data updated today.

In March last year, a sudden lockdown left millions of India’s daily-wage workers without jobs and money.  Overnight, thousands were forced to return to their villages. As many travelled hundreds of kilometres on foot, lorries or cycles, some tragically died on the way.

Migrant workers and others start to return home amid Covid-19 restrictions at Sarai Kale Khan Terminal  in New Delhi on Monday, The, Amid a massive spike in COVID-19 cases, migrant workers have started returning to their native states fearing another complete lockdown that could be imposed by the government. Migrant Workers Returning Home Due To Covid-19 Restrictions in India – 12 Apr 2021 (Pallav Paliwal)

With some states announcing a partial lockdown to contain the spread of the virus, the news is creating a sense of panic again. Dreading another full lockdown, migrant workers are heading back home as jobs, and their sources of income dry up.

Maharashtra, India’s biggest hotspot state, is considering a full lockdown. It has already announced a night curfew and full lockdown on the weekends. Other states have announced night curfews too.

“We are returning to our homes because there was the problem of earning livelihood after curfew announcement. I had migrated back last year also during lockdown but returned after the situation improved,” a taxi driver in Maharashtra said.

In view of helping these migrant workers, the Jharkhand government had set up a control room to cater to their requirements. According to officials at the control room, there has been a drastic increase in the number of phone calls received by them.

Migrant workers and others start to return home amid Covid-19 restrictions at Sarai Kale Khan Terminal  in New Delhi on Monday, The, Amid a massive spike in COVID-19 cases, migrant workers have started returning to their native states fearing another complete lockdown that could be imposed by the government. Migrant Workers Returning Home Due To Covid-19 Restrictions in India – 12 Apr 2021 (Pallav Paliwal)

Speaking to ANI, head of control room, Shikha Pankaj said, “We are getting many calls from migrant labourers. They are fear-stricken and not able to make decisions. Some migrants have reported they have returned. Most calls are being received from Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh and Delhi.”

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