Hyderabad: Prominent city-based academics, activists and intellectuals on Friday wrote to the state government, asking it to facilitate the return of migrant workers stuck in Telangana state to their home states.
Nearly 70 of them, including Mohan Guruswamy, Chukka Ramaiah, P L Vishweshwar Rao, Kodandaram, Meera Sanghamitra and Prof Haragopal co-signed the letter.
The letter noted that migrant workers were among the worst-affected groups due to the lockdown. Though the state government had announced a relief package for them on March 29, the benefits of it hadn’t reached everyone.
The government’s measures, they said, were announced only for 3.35 lakh people while the labour department’s website mentions over 15.45 lakh in the state.
They said many of the migrants were small farmers or farm labourers who were forced to come to the cities due to seasonal migration.
The letter read: “Despite the best efforts of the Telangana government and the civil society groups, it took a month for the system to gear up to extend relief. Even then could reach only a fraction of the migrants who have already lost wages, spent most of their earnings and are on the verge of starvation.”
The authors said many migrants were herded into shelters bereft of sanitation facilities and prone to overcrowding and it would be best if they were allowed to return to their villages. They noted that there had been many cases of migrants walking hundreds of kilometres to reach home and this was risky.
“The migrants have the right under Article 19 (1) d to move freely throughout the territory of India and under Article 19 (1) e to reside and settle in any part of the territory of India,” they wrote....