On Monday, the Union Labour Ministry said in parliament that there is no data on deaths of migrant workers so the question of providing compensation to them does not even occur. The reply came after a question was asked in the parliament whether the families of those migrants who lost their lives amid the coronavirus lockdown has been compensated.
The ministry was asked if the government had any data on migrant workers who returned to their states during the coronavirus lockdown. The ministry was also asked whether the government was conscious regarding the deaths of migrant workers during their return to hometown amid the lockdown. It was also asked about the compensation provided to the dead’s families during the lockdown.
Union Labour Minister, Santosh Kumar Gangwar replied in a written form that there is no such data, he added, “Question does not arise in view of the above”.
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi also criticized the answer given by the Union Labour Minister. He tweeted in Hindi that if there was no counting of the deaths that took place during the lockdown, does that mean that there no deaths happened. He wrote,” It is sad that there has been no impact on the government. The world has seen their deaths. There is a Modi government which has no information.”
The Congress’s Digvijaya Singh was shocked to hear that the labour ministry does not have any data on migrant deaths and hence there would be no compensation provided for them. “Sometimes I feel we are blind or the government feels it can take everyone for granted,” he added.
In March, PM Narendra Modi announced a nationwide lockdown in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. Days after the lockdown was announced, a huge number of migrant workers went without jobs and shelter. After failing to get a job and shelter they all decided to go back to their hometowns.
With no means of transport due to the lockdown, migrant workers started walking barefoot, hungry and thirsty. Several migrant workers died on their way. Later, the Centre announced the running of special trains ‘Shramik Express’ to help migrant workers reach back their home.
However, trains were a failure sometimes leading to accidents due to lack of management.