It will take 3 years with buses: Congress slams Centre’s guidelines on moving migrant labourers

With the extended nationwide lockdown nearing an end, Congress leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi has sought to remind the Modi government of the stranded migrant labourers.

In a media address, Singhvi said, “Its International Labour Day today but looks like Centre has washed off its hands from welfare of labourers.”

The Congress leader also slammed the Centre’s order of allowing migrant movement saying it is arbitrary. “The April 29 order regarding movement of migrants by Home Ministry is arbitrary and ’Tughlaqi’,” Singhvi said.

The Union government on Wednesday issued fresh guidelines allowing states to transport stranded students, migrant labourers, tourists and pilgrims to their home states by strictly following guidelines meant to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus in the country.

Asked during a press briefing if special trains and private vehicles will also be allowed to transport these people as demanded by some states and others, Joint Secretary in the Union home ministry Punya Salila Srivastava said the orders issued at present were for “using buses and for group of persons”.

“After 40 days of lockdown the order is like ‘khoda pahad nikli chuhiya’. There are guidelines for the states but what will Centre do for these migrant population, it says nothing,” the Congress leader said.

Abhishek Manu Singhvi said there are 25 lakh Bihari migrants in Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu alone. “Rajasthan says they have some 2.5 lakh migrant labourers, Kerala has 4 lakh, Punjab 4 lakh, Odisha 7 lakh, Assam has 1.5 lakh migrant labourers stuck in different parts of the country,” he said.

The Congress leader also said that the Centre did no homework before ordering the lockdown and leaving these workers in the lurch.

“We suggest trains will be better transport to move migrant labourers,” Singhvi said and added, “If buses are used, it will take three years to move these migrants from different corners of the country.”

He also blamed the Centre for not releasing any funds to help the states move these migrant labourers.

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