The President of India,

Rashtrapati Bhavan,

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

Respected Sir,

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.

Sincerely yours

Gautam Sen, Social Activist, Kolkata

Arvind Ghosh, Social Activist, Nagpur

Sukla Sen, Peace Activist, Mumbai

G.G. Parikh (Veteran freedom fighter),
Janata weekly, Mumbai

Teesta Setalvad,
Journalist, civil rights activist, educationist

Ram Puniyani,
Chair, Center for Study of Society and Secularism

Amitadyuti Kumar,
Working President, APDR, West Bengal

Sujato Bhadra, Human Rights Activist, West Bengal

Ritu Dewan,
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

Subhendu Dasgupta,

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

Mohammad Imran

Najid Hussain
Bear, DE 19701, USA

Chukka Srinivas
San Jose, California, USA