Coronavirus: How India’s migrant workers suffer without food or money, amid the COVID-19 lockdown
Coronavirus: How India’s migrant workers suffer without food or money, amid the COVID-19 lockdown Image Credit: Twitter

Amid India’s lockdown, millions of poor migrant workers continue to struggle for food and basic necessities. Indians have taken to Twitter again, to share videos and photos, highlighting the plight of the thousands, who undertook long, difficult journeys to head back to their villages, after losing jobs.

One such video that went viral today, was that of a migrant worker in the state of Chhattisgarh, trying to climb an over-crowded truck, while holding an infant in his arms.

Indian journalist @Anurag_Dwary tweeted the video and wrote: “Heart-breaking picture shows man holding an infant in one hand as he clings on to a rope hanging on the vehicle with another in Raipur.”

The 20-second video shows a large group of migrant workers scrambling to get into an overcrowded truck with their children. A woman is also seen handing over her baby to another labourer on the truck, as she struggles to climb the vehicle.

Migrant worker in tears

Another photograph went viral today, it shows a poor labourer in tears, as he talks on his mobile phone.

Indian journalist @khogensingh1 tweeted the photo with the caption: “A penniless migrant worker breaks down as he talks on his mobile phone, a photo that should haunt all Indians.”

Though the original source or location of the photo has not been mentioned. Thousands of tweeps retweeted the photograph, discussing the situation.

Tweep @duxFortisIndia wrote: “The biggest issue with the government is that they let the migrants and other underprivileged folks fall through the crack. Again and again.”

Indians are constantly taking to social media channels, urging the country’s government to take serious and fast steps to address this issue, that came as a result of the sudden COVID-19 lockdown.

While many have criticised the government for not considering the condition of millions of poor people who would get stranded without jobs, many others have said, that even after more than a month, there was barely any solid action taken.

Tagging Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, @vinodmath posted: “Mr Modiji. This is truly painful. The movement of migrants, for sure could have been managed better. Your team has failed you, it should have been done it the first week, instead of putting them in lethal infection camps and now 50 days later, leaving them to die on highways and tracks.”

And, tweep @pushpendre posted: “These pictures are heartbreaking. When will our country be sensitive... People cannot be left to suffer like this…”

Highlighting, that this was just one case, out of millions in the country, @js_analyst posted: “Truly heart breaking. This is the portrayal of only one such incident, and so far millions of Indians faced this reality. Now, not sure how do the Indians with less than a dollar earning per day (or no earning) live.”

Reportedly, in March, the Indian government had promised that help would reach the poor labourers. India's finance minister, Nirmala Sitharaman, had then announced more than $22 billion (over Dh80 billion) as coronavirus relief money. The government's top priority, she said is "for food to reach the poorest of the poor, and money to reach in the hands of those who need it immediately".

But, economists and analysts said that amount was not enough considering India’s estimated 100 million internal migrants. Indian news reports say, many didn’t receive any of the promised relief.

India’s lockdown will continue through May 17, and the government has hinted at reopening of the economy, gradually