As Road Accident Toll Rises, Organisations Urge Govts to Mobilise Idle Vehicles for Migrants

The migrant labour crisis has intensified over the last fortnight, with labourers desperately trying to reach their homes.

New Delhi: Several organisations and individuals have given a call to state governments to bring out all idle transport vehicles from garages and mobilise them to carry migrant workers home. They have also requested that more inter-state trains be run so that no workers are left behind in cities where they cannot sustain livelihoods.

In a statement, the organisations noted that in spite of efforts, “it is clear that the present efforts by the state governments to organise transport from select cities and towns are not adequate to cover all the workers who want to get home. While the workers walk, the Central government continues to evade any real action that will ensure assistance in providing wheels to the workers.”

Also read: Ground Report: Why Migrants Think They’re Being ‘Held Captive’ at Delhi Shelter Homes

The migrant labour crisis has intensified over the last fortnight, with labourers desperately trying to reach their homes amidst uncertainty of work availability in cities. While many have been walking hundreds of kilometres, others have latched onto punishing transport options, like crowded trucks. Several have died on their way in ghastly road accidents.

The distress of the workers, the signatories write, can be alleviated if truck owners associations, private bus owners associations and respective State Transport Corporation fleets are deployed to intercept walking workers and carry them home.

“To facilitate this, it is necessary that the state governments permit the free movement of all types of vehicles carrying workers, across state borders and check posts.”

The signatories also urged that authorities refrain from charging any toll fee on the highways or from the workers who built these roads in the first place. “We also request that border security is notified in advance to not create difficulties in the way of such vehicles plying the various National Highways.”

The organisations also took to Twitter with the hashtag #WheelsForWorkers.

A full list of the signatories are as follows:

Organizations and Networks:
Adivasi sangathan, Madhya Pradesh
Aajeevika Bureau
All Delhi Trade Union’s Association, Delhi
All India Students’ Association (AISA)
All India Unorganized and Domestic Workers Congress, Delhi
Ambedkar Periyar Phule Study Circle, IIT Bombay
Ambedkar Periyar Study Circle, IIT Madras
Centre for Education and Communication
Centre for Human Rights, Justice and Peace, Ahmedabad
Centre for Social Development, Hyderabad
Citizens for Justice and Peace
Confluence, IISER Mohali
Delhi Asangathit Nirman Mazdoor Union (INTUC/BWI), Delhi
Delhi Construction Workers Union, Delhi
Forum Against Oppression of Women, Mumbai
Ganatantrik Adhikaar Suraksha Sanghathan (GASS), Odisha
Ghar Bachao Ghar Banao Andolan, Mumbai
Habitat and Livelihood Welfare Association, Mumbai
Helping Hands Charitable Trust, Mumbai
IIT Bombay for Justice
Indian National Migrants workers Union, Delhi
Information and Resource Centre for Deprived Urban Communities IRCDUC, Chennai
Jan Swasthya Abhiyan, Mumbai
Little India Foundation, New Delhi
Lockdown Relief Project, Mumbai
Lok Manch National Facilitation Centre
Migrant Workers Help Group, Kerala
Migrant Workers Solidarity, Odisha
Migrant Workers’ Solidarity Network (MWSN)
Mumbai Responds Relief Network
Mumbai TB Collective
National Federation of Handloom and Handicraft Workers, Hyderabad
National Labour Foundation, Delhi
Nirman Mazdoor Adhikar Abhiyan, Delhi
People First Collective India (PFCI)
People in Distress, WB
People’s Union for Civil Liberties – PUCL, India
People’s Union for Civil Liberties – PUCL, Maharashtra
People’s Union for Civil Liberties – PUCL, Odisha
Rangoonwala Foundation (India) Trust, Mumbai
READ, Erode
SAHARA – Stranded Humans Relief & Aid Group
Sahayini Social Development Society, Mumbai
Samanvaya, Mumbai
Samta Sainik Dal, Maharashtra
Sankalp Rehabilitation Trust, Mumbai
SevaShakti, Mumbai
Social Environment Educational Development Society, Delhi
Stranded Workers Action Network (SWAN)
Thozhilalar Koodam, Chennai
United Against Hate
Western Harm Reduction Network
YuMetta Foundation, Pune

Amudhan, Film-maker, Chennai
Ashok Khandelwal, Citizen
Asmita Abhyankar
Bhaswati Chakravorty
Brinelle Dsouza, TISS
Christy Abraham, Citizen
Debranjan, Film-maker, Odisha
Ernesto Noronha, IIM, Ahmedabad
Fr. Cedric Prakash, SJ, Human Rights and Peace Activist
Geetha Devarajan, Advocate, Chennai
Indira Mansingh, Citizen
Jagdish Patel, People’s Training and Research Centre, Baroda, Citizen
Javed Malick
Kalpana Kannabiran, Centre for Social Development, Hyderabad
Kirti Shah, INHAF, ASAG
Lokesh, Centre for Education and Communication, Ahmedabad
Mohan and Devika, Advocates
Neena Shah More
Neeraj Malik
Niru Acharya
Padmini, Bengaluru
Persis Ginwalla, Social Activist, Ahmedabad
Preethi Atreya
Prof Ritu Dewan, Retd Professor and Director, Department of Economics, University of Mumbai
R. Swarnalatha, Citizen
Rajinder Negi, PUDR, Delhi
Rajiv Khandelwal, Executive Director, Aajeevika Bureau
Rajluxmi Vaish
Ranjana, writer and feminist activist, Bhubaneshwar
Ravinder Goel, formerly of Delhi University
Shweta Damle
Sitaramaiah Nagabothu, Citizen
Smita M.Patil
Sujata Gothoskar
Teesta Setalvad, Citizens for Justice and Peace
Usha Rai