Shri Provash Ghosh, General Secretary SUCI (communist) expressing deep sympathy for the migrant workers of our country has issued the following statement today:
“From the very beginning of the Corona crisis we have been repeatedly urging the central government to declare and take concrete steps to look into and tackle the problem of the lakhs of migrant workers who are stranded in different states far from their home and suffering from lack of food and shelter. But to our utter dismay the government other than verbal sympathy has done nothing to help them. Now the plight of these workers is so horrible that to reach home they have been forced to walk hundreds of miles. If this continues many would die on roads. If the government felt some responsibility it could have arranged temporary shelter for them in closed educational institutions in the states where they have been in work with adequate foods and medical care. Moreover there are crores of poor people who have no scope for daily earnings for their maintenance. The meager reliefs announced by central & state governments are yet to reach large section of them.
Thousands of migrant workers, jobless, homeless, going without food for days, are on the streets of many major cities in India, including its capital. Moreover, unless these thousands of migrant labours are housed, fed, screened, tested and put under quarantine if necessary, COVID 19 will spread like wildfire through the entire country, thus turning the lockdown into a farce and many more will die out of starvation.
On the medical front, medical persons engaged in service have complained about the poor instruments they are to work with. Test kits are still not available in adequate numbers. They have also raised objections about the poor and inferior quality of PPE (Personal Protection Equipment), comprising of N95 masks, face shields, impervious gowns, gloves, handrub, cleaning material, equipment for disposal of these, etc for the doctors and nurses. There is a gross lack of treatment facilities, particularly lack of enough hospital beds and ICU beds, ventilators, bipaps and other necessary equipments. Arrangements for necessary prophylaxis with hydroxy-chloroquine, as per ICMR guidelines is also very much lacking with the medicine absent in the market. This is really alarming. Both Congress & BJP led governments spent huge amount of money for defense budgets, continuous increase of salaries of high officials, ministers, MPs neglecting health budgets which led to this pathetic situation.
To combat such an impending epidemic, the government should have arranged for active surveillance, screening, mass testing and adequate treatment infrastructure in a huge number of hospitals across the country. Police, paramilitary and army personnel should have been deployed to assist the government, and in this situation the government should have acted on a war footing. Instead, they are staking everything on continued lockdown only. This policy is not only shortsighted, but it also speaks of indifference and callousness.
We demand immediate administrative arrangements to help the migrant workers and other poor people who have lost their daily earnings. Ensure proper and standard protective dresses for the medical community who are fighting the Corona war remaining in the forefront. We also demand arrangements for adequate infrastructure of prophylaxis and treatment.”