Why Aren’t Idle Vehicles Being Used for Transporting Migrant Workers Amid the Lockdown?

As road accident toll increases, many organisations working for the rights of migrants have appealed the states to use all idle vehicles for the purpose of transporting migrant workers from one state to the other.

Groups of concerned activists and organisations working at the grassroots have given a call to the state governments to take the issue of transportation of migrants seriously, especially in the context of innumerable road accident related deaths of migrant workers and their families in the weeks of the lockdown.  

They have appealed to the state governments to come aboard and allow for idle transportation vehicles to be used to carry and transport migrant workers from one state to another. The idea that they have proposed makes sense because due to the lockdown, state transport including buses and other vehicles are idle and are kept in garages and it is the opportune moment to use them for an urgent cause. They have also requested that there be more inter-state trains so that no workers are left behind in the cities where it is becoming literally impossible for them to sustain livelihoods.

They also said that although most states were making great efforts to transport migrant workers from one state to the other, these transportation channels were clearly not enough and there is a lot that still requires to be done. 

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There are thousands of migrant workers who are still being compelled to make arduous journeys back home and many of them have been victims of road accidents and have lost their lives.

It wouldn’t be wrong to say that the crisis of migrant workers has intensified over the last couple of weeks and they are in a helpless mode, with their wages stopped and meagre savings already exhausted they have no option but to take walks back home, not matter how long and difficult these journeys are going to be for them.

These workers don’t know how soon or how later things would become normal for them and when they would again have some certainty of income, while many of them have been walking for hundreds of kilometres, others have been using transportation systems arranged by the Central and the respective state governments. 

Many have also died on their way back in accidents that can be seen as horrific and ghastly.
The people who have appealed to the state looking at the distress of the workers have said that the problems around transportation of workers can be alleviated if states appeal to associations such as the truck owners association, private bus owners and respective state transportation fleets and appeal to them to contribute in transporting migrant workers from one state to another. 

But what is important for this to become successful is that the state governments have to permit the free movement of these vehicles that would carry and transport migrant workers across state borders and check posts. 

They also appealed to the state government to make it possible for authorities to refrain from charging any toll fees when these vehicles run on highways and cross state borders. The border security will also be required to not create difficulties in the way of these vehicles transporting the migrant workers.

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