While any attempt to combat COVID-19 is appreciable, CPI (M) leader Mohammad Yousuf Tarigami has said that there is no doubt that the lockdown has further increased the sufferings of the poor and marginalized sections of the society. The government must focus and address the emerging problems from the lockdown.
Tarigami in a statement said that thousands of labourers, students, shawl/handicraft vendors and patients visiting AIIMS in New Delhi, PGI, Chandigarh, Tata Memorial Hospital in Mumbai and other medical institutions from Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh are struck in different parts of the country. The miseries of these stranded people amid coronavirus pandemic and lockdown have worsened.
“Since the temperature in most of the states outsides J&K is rising, these people are facing another crisis. At several places, the stranded labourers are living under tarpaulin tents in miserable conditions, amid hot and humid conditions,” he said.
“The government has announced food and shelter for the stranded labourers, but ground-level reports reveal that these workers are facing scarcity of food and shelter. They have exhausted their earnings and are facing immense difficulties. Food is the foremost concern. There are reports some of the stranded labourers are surviving on one meal a day and others are completely at the mercy of expected good Samaritans,” he added.
Tarigami said that there has been no income to these stranded labourers since the last almost a month. At a time when the entire country is fighting a global pandemic from inside their homes, with their families, these poor people should not be left to rot in faraway places where there is a shortage of food and even water.
“Without undermining the efforts to combat COVID-19, a serious view should be taken to facilitate the return of these stranded persons. Recent guidelines by the Union Ministry of Home Affairs are disappointing and they need a review so that process for the return of this sizable section of the population is addressed. All these stranded people from Jammu and Kashmir want to come back and remain in mandatory quarantine. It is imperative to maintain social distancing and lockdown. But on the other hand, those stranded can’t be left unattended. There is a lot of uncertainty among their families,” said Tarigamiin a statement.
“Similarly, migrant workers from outside, who are stranded in the erstwhile state of J&K including Ladakh, must be taken care of properly by the J&K administration. The concerned deputy commissioners must arrange for their food and shelter,” he said.
He added that reports are pouring in that these workers are not getting proper food and shelter. The present situation is a humanitarian issue and must be seen through the prism of humanity. Those stranded outside and those stranded here must be provided food, shelter, medicines and other necessary items in these pressing circumstances and efforts must be made to evacuate them to their receptive places.
“We appeal to all the shades of opinion in and outside the erstwhile state of J&K to raise their voice for the legitimate demands of people. The migrant workers can’t be left to the mercy of others, unsure about their next day’s ration, away from family and friends, cooped up inside hostile camps in the middle of a global pandemic and bare-bodied to every form of infection,” said Tarigami in a statement.