[WSMDiscuss] An Open Letter to the President of India on the Desperate Plight of Migrant Workers

Sukla Sen sukla.sen at gmail.com
Wed Apr 15 20:04:23 CEST 2020

Dear Friend/s,
Please find below a self-explanatory open letter - proposed to be sent, to
the President of India.

Please endorse, with your full name, affiliation/designation (if any) and
location indicated.

The endorsement may be sent tosengautam1947 at gmail.com.

Gautam Sen

Arvind Ghosh

Sukla Sen


The President of India,

Rashtrapati Bhavan,

New Delhi - 110004.

<presidentofindia at rb.nic.in>

*Subject: The Desperate Plight of the Migrant Workers in the wake of
COVID-19 Lockdown and Dire Need for Immediate Remedial Intervention*

Respected Sir,

We, the udersigned, have come to learn via reports by various news media
outlets, and other sources, that hundreds of thousands of migrant workers
have, in the wake of the sudden enforcing of the nationwide lockdown, been
desperately trying to return to their homes from their places of work and
too many are stuck up in different states of India in extremely miserable
conditions, without food and shelter.

Many more perhaps remain stuck up where they had already been, in broadly
similar situations.
With the utterly menacing COVID-19 pandemic as the backdrop, this has given
rise to a frightening scenario.
Reports have already appeared as regards tens of deaths out of hunger and
exhaustion, and even road accident.

We, therefore, respectfully put forward the demand that these workers be
treated with dignity and provided with food and adequate shelter wherever
they are.
As per official claims, such arrangements have already been made.
But, reports from grounds underline the severe inadequacy of and large gaps
in such arrangements, despite various grassroots and civil society
organisations coming forward and playing even larger roles than the
official machineries in a number of states.

*Under the given circumstances, we recognise that it is the obligation of
the respective state governments, duly backed up by the Central government,
to provide for food, water, soap, medicine etc. and adequate shelters with
toilet facilities - where the norms of physical distancing can be
realistically followed, for the stuck up migrant workers*.

*We, therefore, further demand that each state government must,
immediately, set up monitoring committees comprised of both official
members, entrusted with the task of looking after, and members from the
civil society organisations already engaged in relief work or with issues
concerning migrant workers.Various government and private buildings, as
required, may be temporarily taken over for this purpose.If necessary,
temporary shelters must, additionally, be built.*

*We also demand that the families of these workers who are left behind in
their home states must also be adequately taken care of, overseen by
appropriate monitoring committees - constituted on the lines as sketched
out above.*

*The same should, with necessary modifications, apply also to those who
have, somehow, been able to reach back home but have, now, no means of

*These arrangements must continue till normalcy is restored.*

*This is required just not to save the lives of these toiling people, who
used to meaningfully contribute to the running of the national economy till
the very other day, but also to ensure success in halting or, at least,
significantly slow down the constantly accelerating spread of the dreaded
disease so that the healthcare infrastructure in place does not get
overwhelmed and, thereby, a huge catastrophe is averted.*

*We, hereby, humbly request you to personally look into the matter and
suitably advise both the Central government and the state governments so
that these measures are implemented at the soonest.*

Sincerely yours

[Please circulate]
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