Hyderabad: In April, when Lockdown 1.0 was imposed, a 22-year-old migrant labourer from Tamil Nadu, Logesh, died in Hyderabad after walking for 500 km. He suffered a cardiac arrest when the batch of young workers reached Secunderabad.

Bala Subrahmani Logesh worked as a private employee in Nagpur but lost his job due to the lockdown.  He, along with 25 others, had walked from Nagpur and reached Secunderabad, covering 500 km carrying their belonging and burdens.

The batch of young workers stopped in Secunderabad for a night and Logesh died due to cardio-respiratory arrest on April 2 morning. The news was widely covered across the media to mirror the plight of workers.

 

Long walk home: Telangana opens borders to let Tamil labourer’s body reach home

Good Samaritan Harish Daga, a resident of Hyderabad, pitched in to ensure Logesh’s body reached home. The man spoke to the police chiefs of both the state and even took help of Union Home Minister Amit Shah and of Union minster of state Kishan Reddy’s office to transport the body to Tamil Nadu.

In this particular case, the two states and the offices of two Union ministers were involved. But what has come as a rude shock is Center’s answer in the Lok Sabha citing no information available on migrant worker’s death during the national lockdown.

On day of the parliament session A Lok Sabha MP from Tamil Nadu  raised a question on migrants workers’ death, the house concluded  ‘No information available’.

MPs K Navaskani, Balubhau ( Suresh Narayan Dhanokar) and Adv. Adoor Prakash questioned the house on the data on migrants who returned home during national lockdown. Besides this, they asked for the number of migrant workers who lost their life in the middle of the journey. To which the house on migrants deaths said, “No information is available”.

However, In response to a question raised by Hyderabad MP Asaduddin Owaisi, The ministry of Labour said, in total 10,46,6152 workers returned home. Of which 32,571 are from Andhra Pradesh and 37,050 from Telangana.

 

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A high number of workers 3,24,9638 returned to their home in Uttar Pradesh, followed by 1,50,061 to Bihar  which also reflects the rate of migration for employment.

Workers were left with Rs 100  during lockdown 1: Survey

According to an independent study conducted by Stranded Workers’ Action Network (SWAN), 64 per cent of migrant workers they spoke to had less than Rs 100 with them during the national lockdown.

The study, which collected data from 16,683 workers, who responded via distress calls, also found that 97 per cent of these workers have not received any monetary aid from the government.

Though not representing the entire nation, the report shows that more than half of the migrant workers had ration left for less than a day. While this number increased to 54 per cent by April 14, it remained steady at the half-way mark later.

The report also found that a majority of the workers were stranded in Maharashtra (4,823), followed by Karnataka (4,736), Uttar Pradesh (1,869) and Delhi (1,361).

 

Coreena Suares

Coreena Enet Suares is the Editor of NewsMeter. Her stories have been published in the Deccan Chronicle Newspaper and the Asian Age. Coreena began her career as a News Anchor. Throughout her journey, she has been able to build a strong network with people from all walks of life. She is an alumnus of Edward R. Murrow Program for Journalists- Research and Investigation, a flagship initiative of the International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP)

Coreena is also a certified fact-checker by Google India Initiative. She has attended the 'Defence Correspondents Course 2019, through which she visited Indo- Pak border, besides traveling on a War-ship and insight into operations of Fighter aircraft. Coreena's focus areas are anti-crime investigation agencies and Defence reporting.

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