Migrant workers to be stoppedApprox Read Time: 4 minutes
- The Union Home Ministry has said that the movement of migrant workers to reach their home towns is a violation of the lockdown measures on maintaining social distance.
- The Central government had already announced measures to extend support to the needy by providing them free cereal, pulses and gas cylinders, besides cash transfer of ₹500 per month for the next three months, to support them during the lockdown.
Directives by the Home Ministry to make the lockdown effective:
- In a move to restrict the movement of migrant workers on roads and highways, the Centre has used the Disaster Management Act to fix responsibility on DMs and SSPs to seal district and state borders.
- Further, adequate arrangements for food and shelter of the poor and needy, including migrant labourers, should also be made at the place of their work, for which the use of the State Disaster Response Fund has already been authorized.
- The home secretary has asked the states and UTs to ensure proper screening of migrants on the move and to keep them in government quarantine facilities for a minimum 14 days as per standard health protocol.
- In order to mitigate the economic hardship of migrants, the Ministry told the State and UT governments to ensure that all employers, including industrialists and shop owners, pay wages without deduction at workplaces, on the due date.
- Wherever workers, including the migrants, are living in rented accommodation, landlords shall not demand payment of rent for a period of one month. If a landlord forces labourers or students to vacate premises, the state police have been told to make them liable under the Disaster Management Act.
- Moreover, transportation of all goods, without distinction of essential and non-essential, has been allowed. The entire milk supply and newspaper delivery chains have also been allowed.
Prime Minister’s address to the nation:
- Prime Minister Narendra Modi has apologized for the hardships caused by the national lockdown but underlined that there was no other option in a “war like” situation to deal with the highly infectious disease.
- He, however, stressed on the need for complete cooperation in strictly following the lockdown guidelines, as this was the only way to save people and their family members.
- He also expressed disappointment over reports of some of those asked to stay in home quarantine being ill-treated by others, pointing out that they had chosen isolation to protect society from the infection.
- Calling it unfortunate, he said, that in the current circumstances, people need to understand that they have to practice social distance and not human or emotional distance.