Pregnant women, hunger-stricken kids, and sick patients among the migrant workers in Karnataka are all left astray and susceptible as the state government decides to cancel its Shramik train services to ferry them back homes.
An out of the blue decision that struck the hopeful migrant labourers waiting to board their trains to home, the Karnataka government on Tuesday announced its decision regarding the hold on the inter-state movement of migrant workers by train.
Workers let to suffer by the government
The decision was the resultant of the Chief Minister's meeting with the builders, construction workers and real-estate workers in the state who have registered most of these migrant workers under their service.
Protests by the workers have been reported widely across the state following the government's decision. Earlier, many workers faced a similarly grim situation when the government charged high bus fares for their commutation, although KSRTC claimed on their free travel service.
Ever since the initial days of the nation-wide lockdown, these daily wage earners were left unpaid of their pending salary amounts. Neither did their contractors take care of their basic essentials during the lockdown days including the adequate supply of food and water.
As protests grew stronger and wider, the government arranged the inter-state exodus services, nevertheless to be called off.
Jobless hunger days
About 200 guest workers from Bihar and Jharkhand, now jobless, currently stay in small lodges in KR Market where, despite their plight, the lodge owners force them to pay a rent of Rs. 1,000 for five people.
With the markets shut and services closed down, the migrant workers say that they do not have any work to do for these days, still have been forbidden from going back to own homes.
"We were suffering all these days and they did not respond to any of our calls or provide us with food regularly. We are being treated like animals, they are giving us two meals and are asking us to follow their instructions," says a migrant worker.
The workers have been defying all norms of social distancing while on protest on roads. Earlier, the workers assigned for the Namma Metro project had also expressed their protest for the undignified treatment by their contractors.
The opposition leaders expressed their indignation on the BJP government's decision on treating migrant workers worse than the 'bonded labourers.'
Nearly eight trains were operated on Sunday that helped almost 9,583 workers reach their homes. The rest of the workers who anticipated their return are now let to suffer.