By A Special Correspondent
First publised on 2021-04-21 07:54:51
As the second wave of Covid infections engulfs India and many states impose complete lockdown or night curfews, weekend lockdown and other stringent restrictions, economic activity is bound to suffer. There will be loss of livelihood for many once again. The major problem will again be the exodus of migrant workers. Since last time too the government had first imposed a limited lockdown and had then kept on extending it, it will be difficult to convince these workers that they should remain where they are since they will get work again in a week or 15 days. These workers fear the worse, especially since nearly three times more people are getting infected daily this time. Since they are dependent on daily or weekly wages and with the experience of last year fresh in their memory, they feel that being cooped up without wages, without much support from the government and not knowing where they will get food from, it is better to return home.
But they need to be educated that the virus is mutating and the triple mutation variant causing much damage in India. It is best for them and their families that they remain where they are. For, if they go home and carry the mutated variant with them, or if any of their fellow workers do so, they will spread the disease in the villages. The villages do not have the necessary health infrastructure and will collapse if Covid cases start multiplying exponentially, sparking off another human tragedy. But they will now not listen to appeals from the government. The government will have to do all it takes to prevent the situation that was created last year. A similar human tragedy must be avoided at all costs. Several sectors are entirely dependent on migrant workers and their well-being is of prime importance to keep the wheels rolling. Hence, industry and the government must come together to take care of the migrant workers in these difficult times.
pic courtesy: nyt