Leader of the Opposition in Assam Assembly Debabrata Saikia dashed off a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi urging him to arrange Army vehicles to transport all stranded people to their homes across the country.
He also appealed to Modi to provide food and accommodation to all the stranded cash-strapped people until they are sent home by following medical guidelines.
“I would like to request you kindly to mobilize Army vehicles to transport these stranded and cash-strapped people to their respective homes. The Army may also use the trains under the supervision and arrange quarantine facilities before letting these people go and join their relatives in villages,” Saikia wrote.
He added, “In case health-care imperatives pertaining to the lockdown precludes their transportation at this stage, then I request you kindly to issue instructions to ensure that all the stranded people are housed in vacant schools, colleges etc till such time as the lockdown ends, with adequate provision of food, water, medicines, sanitizers etc in the meantime.”
Modi had announced a 21-day nationwide lockdown in his address on March 24th, 2020 as a measure to tackle the transmission of coronavirus.
“As the lockdown commenced at the month-end, most of these hapless people did not receive their full wages, thereby adding to their woes. The financial aid announced by the Central Government is still a distant dream for them, stranded as they are so long away from home,” Saikia further mentioned.
The Congress leader mentioned that though petty vendors and daily-wage earners have been adversely affected following the lockdown, the worst-hit are the migrant labourers who work on a contractual basis in states other than their home state.
“There are reports of such unfortunate people starting to walk hundreds of kilometres in order to reach their homes. In this context, I may mention that hundreds of labourers from Assam are currently stranded in a pitiable condition in neighbouring states like Nagaland, Mizoram and so on,” he said.
Saikia added, “Sir, these people are not foreigners. They are the sons of the soil and bonafide citizens. As such, just like the NRIs they too deserve help from the government during this unprecedented crisis.”