Photo by Nirmal Agni

Following the lockdown after the second wave of Covid-19, migrant workers make survival demands.

Since the second wave of Covid-19 has hit Delhi in '21, daily wage and informal workers are once again left all on their own to survive without money, food, job, and basic amenities as the unorganized sector started shutting down. Considering they have nowhere to go to earn bread for themselves and their family, they are helpless.  Due to unavailability of ration cards, they cannot even receive a basic proportion of food. Their mental and physical health is at stake.

In times like these, migrant workers demand  a promised amount of money and ration from the government because they understand it is their right as they are equal citizens in this country.  It is seen that the vulnerability of migrant workers rises with every lock down when unorganized sectors give up on the need for employment of the underprivileged.

The second wave of COVID has been more deadly than the first and it has hit Delhi much worse as we are seeing a higher positivity and death rate. The lockdown thus imposed has made it more difficult for migrant workers who were just starting to recover from the first wave of COVID- 19. The lack of ration cards and no daily work has made it difficult for migrant labourers to survive. Most of these labourers don't have the proper documentation to gain the few social security benefits that the government is offering. No Aadhar Card means that ration card is not available and these migrants can't get the proper benefits. The dilemma for these workers is either to work amidst the lockdown and risk being exposed to COVID or die of starvation in their homes. The main issue faced during the second wave is that more than ever before, almost all age groups are being equally affected due to the new variants and mutations.

A team led by Mr. Nirmal visited the slum dwellings in parts of Delhi where a lot of migrant labourers are living in their dwellings while faced with the dilemma of life and death. The members of the dwelling include all types of labourers like construction workers, domestic workers, rickshaw drivers, boot polish workers and home based workers. Most of them work on a daily basis and due to the lockdown imposed during the second wave, they are facing a fatal crisis. The workers make a demand from the government to provide them with 10,000 Rupees along with surety regarding provision of different types of ration which is important for their sustenance during these tough times. This is mainly to be done so lockdown guidelines can be followed. Labourers also demand proper implementation of social security schemes for those without documentation and ensuring that vaccination programmes are made accessible for the labourers through Sewa Kendra since registration is online. These demands require imperative actions so that more precious lives are lost.