Delhi Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal on Tuesday appealed to migrant workers not to leave the city because of the six-day lockdown in the national Capital. Hundreds of migrant workers started gathering at railway stations and bus terminals from Monday to get back home after the restrictions were imposed.
The mass exodus of migrant workers from major cities was a point of concern during the countrywide lockdown in March 2020. With most modes of public transport shut down, thousands of migrant workers were left with the option of either ferrying rides on private vehicles with cramped spaces, or walking hundreds of kilometres on the way to their hometowns.
Many of them blamed the sudden announcement of the lockdown in March last year. On Monday too, migrant workers said that they should have been given more time to prepare before the restrictions were imposed. The migration of workers from Delhi continued on Tuesday morning too.
“I appeal to all migrant workers not to leave Delhi in panic,” Baijal tweeted. “I assure you that the government will take care of all your needs during the surge in Covid-19 cases. All necessary arrangements are being made for you. You run Delhi with your tireless hard work and this city is yours.”
Earlier on Tuesday, Baijal held an emergency Covid-19 review meeting with Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and the Delhi chief secretary. Baijal asked the authorities to initiate every possible measure to avoid a reverse migration and to provide food and shelter to the migrants, News18 reported, citing officials.
Baijal also appointed the principal secretary (home) and the special police commissioner as nodal officers to handle the Covid-19 situation. The Delhi government authorities were asked to facilitate the required permissions for hospitals with oxygen plants to boost production, according to the news channel.
On Tuesday, the Ministry of Labour & Employment announced that it had set up 20 control rooms to address concerns of migrant workers. In April 2020, the ministry had set up 20 such control rooms as a grievances redressal for the workers.
Meanwhile, the Delhi High Court on Monday said that the Centre and the Aam Aadmi Party government miserably failed to think about migrant workers during last year’s lockdown.
The national Capital went under a six-day lockdown from 10 pm on Monday due to the massive surge in Covid-19 cases. Kejriwal had said that the time would be utilised to make arrangements for oxygen, medicines and hospital beds.