With no income in the lockdown, Abdul Sattar and other embroiderers in Bengaluru were desperate to return to their West Bengal village. Now, with no work in the village, Sattar is desperate to come back to the city.
The acts of kindness from individuals during the lockdown are innumerable and difficult to quantify. Many were no more than just donors, but their contribution saved the day for the thousands stranded far from home.
As per law, Disaster Management Cells in each ward would have been responsible for providing services to migrant workers during lockdown. But thanks to the apathy of authorities, these Cells weren’t even set up initially and still remain ineffective.
The trade union AICCTU has written to the state government, asking not to proceed with its plans to dilute labour laws. Rather, these laws should be strengthened so that workers affected by the lockdown are protected, the union said.
Part 1 of this two-part series illustrates that basic human empathy on the part of employers could have prevented the exodus of migrant workers and the humanitarian crisis presently unfolding before our eyes
Domestic workers who aren’t welcome to work anymore, cab drivers and street vendors who can’t go out – informal workers in the city are a frustrated lot as they have no work or wages anymore. Many are unable to meet basic expenses for food and rent.