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Migrant Exodus During Lockdown Caused Due To “Fake News”: MHA Tells Parliament

MoS Home Affairs Nithyananda Rai said, “The migration of large number of migrant workers was triggered by panic created by fake news regarding duration of lockdown…”

 

New Delhi| A day after informing the parliament that the government has no data on Migrant workers’ death and job losses, the central govt baffled the MPs with its reply again. The Ministry of Home Affairs on Tuesday informed the parliament that the migrant crisis during lockdown was triggered by “fake news”. Touted as a glaring example of failure of lockdown by critics, the migrant exodus soon after the lockdown was announced saw hundreds and thousands of migrant workers struggling to go back to their home towns from cities. Crammed in a truck, mini truck sometimes even on foot, many even lost their lives while trying to reach home.

On a question asked by TMC MP Mala Roy regarding what steps were taken to protect migrant workers before lockdown was announced on March 25, the Home Ministry said that the migration during lockdown took place because of panic induced by “fake news”. Minister of State for Home Affairs Nithyananda Rai said, “The migration of large number of migrant workers was triggered by panic created by fake news regarding duration of lockdown, and people, especially migrant labourers, were worried about adequate supply of basic necessities like food, drinking water, health services and shelter. ”

Also Read: Government Says It Has No Data On Migrants’ Deaths, Job Losses

” However, the central government was fully conscious of this, and took all necessary measures to ensure that during the period of the inevitable lockdown, no citizen should be deprived of basic amenities of food, drinking water, medical facilities etc,” Rai added.

As per MHA reply, on March 28, three days after the lockdown was announced the centre allowed state government to use State Disaster Response Fund to provide temporary accommodation, food, clothing, medical care etc to homeless as well as migrant population. “Centre released an advance Rs.11, 092 crores from the state disaster funds to states on April 3,” Rai said.

On the first day of the session, the Ministry of Labour had said that the Central govt does not have a state-wise data on number of migrant workers who died during the lockdown or even the job losses. When asked if there will be any compensation, the govt said, “There is no question of giving compensation”.

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