The President of India,
New Delhi – 110004.
Subject: The Desperate Plight of the Migrant Workers in the wake of COVID-19 Lockdown and Dire Need for Immediate Remedial Intervention
We, the undersigned, have come to learn via reports by various media outlets, and other sources, that hundreds of thousands of migrant workers have, in the wake of the sudden enforcing of the nationwide lockdown, been desperately trying to return to their homes from their places of work and too many are stuck up in different states of India in extremely miserable conditions, without food and shelter.
Many more perhaps remain stuck up where they had already been, in broadly similar situations. With the utterly menacing COVID-19 pandemic as the backdrop, this has given rise to a frightening scenario. Reports have already appeared as regards tens of deaths out of hunger and exhaustion, and even road accident.
We, therefore, respectfully put forward the demand that these workers be treated with dignity and provided with food and adequate shelter wherever they are.
As per official claims, such arrangements have already been made.
But, reports from grounds underline the severe inadequacy of and large gaps in such arrangements, despite various grassroots and civil society organisations coming forward and playing even larger roles than the official machineries in a number of states.
Under the given circumstances, we recognise that it is the obligation of the respective state governments, duly backed up by the Central government, to provide for food, water, soap, medicine etc. and adequate shelters with toilet facilities – where the norms of physical distancing can be realistically followed, for the stuck up migrant workers.
We, therefore, further demand that each state government must, immediately, set up monitoring committees comprised of both official members, entrusted with the task of looking after, and members from the civil society organisations already engaged in relief work or with issues concerning migrant workers.
Various government and private buildings, as required, may be temporarily taken over for this purpose.
If necessary, temporary shelters must, additionally, be built.
We also demand that the families of these workers who are left behind in their home states must also be adequately taken care of, overseen by appropriate monitoring committees – constituted on the lines as sketched out above.
The same should, with necessary modifications, apply also to those who have, somehow, been able to reach back home but have, now, no means of livelihood.
These arrangements must continue till normalcy is restored.
This is required just not to save the lives of these toiling people, who used to meaningfully contribute to the running of the national economy till the very other day, but also to ensure success in halting or, at least, significantly slow down the constantly accelerating spread of the dreaded disease so that the healthcare infrastructure in place does not get overwhelmed and, thereby, a huge catastrophe is averted.
We, hereby, humbly request you to personally look into the matter and suitably advise both the Central government and the state governments so that these measures are implemented at the soonest.
Gautam Sen, Social Activist, Kolkata
Arvind Ghosh, Social Activist, Nagpur
Sukla Sen, Peace Activist, Mumbai
G.G. Parikh (Veteran freedom fighter),
Janata weekly, Mumbai
Journalist, civil rights activist, educationist
Chair, Center for Study of Society and Secularism
Working President, APDR, West Bengal
Sujato Bhadra, Human Rights Activist, West Bengal
Vice President,Indian Society of Labour Economics
Visiting Professor, Institute for Human Development
President, Indian Association for Women’s Studies (2014-17)
Dr Walter Fernandes
Senior Fellow, North Eastern Social Research Centre, Guwahati
Former Member of Faculty, University of Calcutta
Miratun Nahar, Retired Professor, Educationist and Writer, Kolkata
Amit Roychowdhury, Ph.D
Professor & HoD, Aerospace Engineering & Applied Mechanics,
Indian Institute of Engineering Science & Technology, Shibpur, Howrah
Feminist Learning Partnerships,
Kamayani Bali Mahabal,
Convenor ,Jan Swasthya Abhiyan, Mumbai
Harish Pujari, Gen. Secretary, Otis Employees Union, Mumbai
‘Pothe Ebar Namo Sathi‘ initiative, West Bengal
Sankar Ray, Veteran journalist, Kolkata
Sajal Roychowdhury, Editor, Kolkata
Jyoti Punwani, Freelance journalist, Mumbai
Nilanjan Dutta, Freelance journalist, Kolkata
Pranab Kanti Basu, Prof. (Retd.), Visva-Bharati
Malay Sen, Retd. Professor, North Bengal University
Francis Parmar, Anand, Gujarat
Santanu Chacraverti, DISHA, Kolkata
Ramakrishnan, Academic Advisor, TIPS Global, Coimbatore
Subhasis Bandyopadhyay, Associate Professor, IIEST, Shibpur, Howrah
Nandini Dhar, Associate Professor, OP Jindal Global University
Sitangsu Sekhar, Editor, Film Director & Activist
Anwesa Bhattacharya, Project research scientist, IITB
Satyabrata Mitra, Researcher, Kolkata
Shiladitya Mal, Researcher, Kolkata
Souvik Ghosh, Researcher, Jalpaiguri, West Bengal
Chiranjib Paul, Journalist
Krishna Mira, Activist, Kolkata
Kalpana Sen, Social Activist, Kolkata
Arjun Sengupta, Trade Union Activist, Kolkata
Dilip Kumar Hota, Activist, Shramik Mukti Dal, Pune
Sohini Roy, Social Activist, Kolkata
Ankur Roychowdhury, Theater Activist, Kolkata
Afreen Khan, Advocate, High Court of Bombay
Anamika Sarkar, Political Activist, Kolkata
Bitan Bhowmik, Social Activist, Kolkata
Pradip Chatterjee, Kolkata
Sasanka Dev, Kolkata
Sulagna Paul, Teacher, West Bengal
Partha Kayal, Teacher, Kolkata
Brotee Mukhopadhyay, Poet, Kharagpur, West Bengal
Somdeb Lahiri, Ahmedabad
Dhruva Sen, Bengaluru
Chitto Mukherjee, Bardhaman Town, West Bengal
Prasit Das, Kolkata
Jaideep Dharadhar, Mumbai
Prakash Mahadeo Raut, Worker, Nagpur
Arun Kumar Sinha, Technologist, Kolkata
Partha Nag, Retired, Kolkata
Pramod Gupta, West Bengal
Kajari Roychowdhury, Kolkata
Bappaditya Ganguly, Kolkata
Shamik Ghosh, Kolkata
Shamik Roychowdhury, Kolkata
Somnath Bhattacharya, Retired central government employeea, Kolkata
Shyamali Bhattacharya, West Bengal
Bikash Paul, Political Activist, Purba Bardhaman District, West Bengal
Mitali Sen, Kolkata
Kajal Mukherjee, Social Activist, West Bengal
Malay Kundu, Kolkata
Bikash Sen, Dhanbad
Sankar Sarkar, Purba Bardhaman District, West Bengal
Dilip Sen, Kolkata
Joy Bose, Kolkata
Bear, DE 19701, USA
San Jose, California, USA