Bengaluru, (Aryavarth): A large crowd of people gathered at the Bandra railway station in Mumbai on Tuesday afternoon. Despite the lockdown, a large number of people gathered at the railway station. People started making a ruckus at the railway station for being sent home, after which the police lathi-charged the crowd.
It is being told that rumours spread in nearby settlements that people from outside will be sent home. After which people started gathering at the railway station. Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Dekhmukh said that now the situation is under control. The state government will make arrangements for the food of these laborers. Day laborers have become unemployed since the lockdown was implemented last month to prevent the spread of COVID19. Due to this they are facing difficulties. Although the authorities and non-governmental organisations have arranged for their food, most of them want to go back to their original places due to problems due to restrictions. But the question is despite this lockdown, police surveillance and inspite of strict rules how did thousands of people reach Bandra station? This question arises when the whole world is doing all measures to avoid any kind of gathering. Is this a matter of negligence of state police or the government!
According to a police official, around 1000 daily laborers gathered at the Mumbai suburban area Bandra (West) bus depot near the railway station at around 3 pm and sat on the road. Daily wage laborers live in slums in the nearby Patel Nagri area, demanding transportation facilities so that they can go back to their original towns and villages. They are originally from states like West Bengal and Uttar Pradesh. One laborer, without mentioning his name, said that the NGOs and local residents are providing food to the migrant laborers but they want to go back to their native states during the lockdown as their livelihood has been badly affected by the bandh. He said, ‘Now, we don’t want food, we want to go back to our original place, we are not happy with the announcement (of increasing the lockdown).’ Asadullah Sheikh, who hails from Malda in West Bengal, said, ‘We have already spent our savings in the first phase of lockdown. Now we have nothing to eat, we just want to go back to our original place, the government should make arrangements for us.’
Why blame these laborers ?
Isn’t that the culprit who booked 39 lakh tickets for trains running between 15 April and 3 May. When the states were declaring one after the other that the lockdown would be extended. Why did the Railways allow tickets to be booked in advance when one expert after another was saying that this much lockdown was not enough to stop Corona? Even if the lockdown was expected to end after April 14, why did the precautionary passengers not be informed that the train would depend on what the government decides on the lockdown on April 14? Thousands of laborers gathered in Bandra West, while outside trains ran from Bandra East. So who told them that the train will run from the west. Will the police find the person who spread this news? Nawab Malik, a minister and NCP leader in the Maharashtra government, has said that the workers gathered at Bandra station after a message was circulated. Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh has said that he has set up an investigation to find out Who has spread the rumor.
What action will be taken against those leaders who have left these laborers destitute? The ruling rulers in Maharashtra are saying that the workers are not asking for food, they just want to go home. It is quite disturbing to note that even after living in Mumbai for years, despite the fear of corona infection and fear of legal action in lockdown, why do the workers want to risk going to the village?It strongly tells that only providing food and grains does not fulfill their needs of livelihood.Leaders who are looking for an angle of political conspiracy behind the incident in Bandra should remember that on the same day thousands of laborers came out on the streets in Thane . They should also remember the scene in Surat, in which the laborers came out on the streets to go to their village, protesting. Before the announcement of Lockdown-1.0, we have seen millions of laborers going on foot. Workers’ suffering on one side, lockdown on the other side failed. Who is responsible?
The laborers leave their homes and families hundreds of kilometers away in their village, do not come to the city just to feed themselves, they do all odd jobs , even overtime so that their children get a morsel in the village. Even if you give food to these laborers, who will run his family there? If you give a ration here, then who will pay the room rent? Lockdown-1 went by and now Lockdown-2, their were no response to these concerns of the workers and labourers.Why didn’t the Government transfer some money to these workers’ accounts as help? Is the Government not guilty?A case has been registered against unidentified people gathered at Bandra station under sections of illegal submission, rioting, disturbing government duty and disobeying government orders. The truth is that those who have done this work for these workers today, they are all known.Instead of helping them, the Center wants them to be healed by only promises in return to their pleas for help. The state government, by requesting the Center to send them to the village, wants to get rid of them.
Central government could not take decision for workers
The lockdown in the country has been extended to 3 May to combat the Coronavirus. Minister of Maharashtra government Aditya Thackeray tweeted the entire incident and accused the central government. He said that at present the laborers have been removed from Bandra station. Recently, the same thing happened in Surat. The central government has not been able to decide to send the workers home. They do not want food and shelter, they want to go back home.
What did Uddhav Thackeray say?
Most of the people gathered at Bandra station were migrant laborers and wanted to go to their home state. However, on receiving information about the huge crowd near the station, police arrived and removed the people from there. People have been evacuated from Bandra station. Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray has said that people need not panic, the government is doing everything possible to solve their problems. On March 24, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a 21-day lockdown. This lockdown was ending on Tuesday, 14 April. In a video message at 10 am on Tuesday morning, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the extension of the lockdown to May 3 and appealed to the people to stay indoors so that corona infection could be avoided. In the case of such a large number of people gathering in Bandra, Mumbai Police is now investigating how so many people gathered together.Minister of Maharashtra Government Aditya Thackeray tweeted that the situation outside the Bandra station is normal and the crowd has been removed. He also said that there is a mob in Bandra or violence in Surat, the central government is responsible for this, which is unable to arrange for the return of the migrant laborers back home. Migrant workers do not want shelter or food, they want to go to their homes.
Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray has appealed to the people not to get upset, the government is taking care of their essential facilities. He said that Mumbai and Pune are corona infection hotspots so the number of testing centers is being increased here. In the areas that have been sealed, testing and sample gathering is being done prominently. At the same time, the government is also trying to solve the supply related difficulties. The world is affected by the corona virus problem. People are forced to hold their events at home. I want to thank the Bhima soldiers who did not hold any rally or meeting on the occasion of Ambedkar Jayanti and stayed in their homes. Uddhav Thackeray said that 10 districts of Maharashtra, Corona, are free from infection and the government will try to ensure that no cases are found here. Also, the other districts should be free from corona infection as soon as possible. He said, today Prime Minister Narendra Modi has announced to increase the lockdown till May 3. I want to thank them. I had also suggested the same.
Coronavirus tests are taking place in Maharashtra the most. More than 22000 sample tests have been conducted in Mumbai till this morning. So far, about 10% of the total infected people have been cured after treatment. He said that even after the end of the Corona transition, the government will face an equal challenge and that is the challenge of reviving the economy. For this, we have formed a committee which will prepare an action plan. Maharashtra is most affected by Coronavirus infection. According to the Ministry of Health, there are a total of 2337 cases of corona infection in Maharashtra. So far 160 people have died due to corona here. There are a total of 10815 cases of corona infection across the country and the death toll has reached 353. After the announcement of the first phase of the lockdown, thousands of migrants had gathered on the borders of Delhi and Uttar Pradesh. There was a mutual dispute between the governments of both the states regarding this. However, later the Yogi government of Uttar Pradesh arranged for buses to bring the migrants.
Will buses or trains run?
Prime Minister Narendra Modi did not mention buses and trains in both his first and second speeches. He had earlier said in the speech that everything in the country would remain closed. After this, the railway had canceled all its trains by 31 March, after which it was increased to 14 April. The Railway Ministry has made it clear that all types of trains, except freight trains, have been closed till midnight of May 3. The Ministry of Civil Aviation has also announced to discontinue domestic and international flights till 3 May. At the same time, state governments have stopped all kinds of interstate services. It is running its ‘city buses’ only for employees engaged in essential services. Many states including Delhi, Kerala, West Bengal have extended the lockdown till April 30. Therefore, inter-state bus services will not continue in these cities.
Prime Minister Modi appealed to the people to follow discipline, keep an eye on hotspots as new hotspots are not allowed to be built. After the first lockdown was announced, there was a strong police force in many states. Prime Minister Modi has said that more tightening will be done for the next one week. He said that by 20 April every street, locality in the country will be closely examined to see how the lockdown is being followed and where there will be no cases of coronavirus, there will be some relaxation to those areas. This exemption will be given conditionally and if these conditions are broken then the exemption will be taken away from them. In a way, people have a responsibility to live within the rules. The government will announce which areas will be given exemption after which rules and procedures. However, Prime Minister Modi made it clear in his speech that this decision is being made keeping in mind the poor and laborers and some commercial activities can be done in the areas which will be exempted after 20 April.