The Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Friday held a video press conference and taking questions from the public on the ongoing coronavirus crisis in India. Watch below:
Asserting that migrant workers reeling from the impact of the coronavirus lockdown need immediate support from the government, former Congress president on Friday demanded that the Centre put money in people’s hands to help them tide over the crisis.
“Migrants need support and money now. Today. MSMEs need help immediately, not tomorrow, or job losses will become tsunami,” Gandhi said at a press conference called after 16 migrants walking home to Madhya Pradesh were crushed to death in Aurangabad, Maharashtra.
He said the government can take the idea of NYAY, the minimum income scheme promised by Congress before 2019 polls, and start giving Rs 7,000 per person to 50 per cent poor.
The Centre, he said, needs to have a strategy for our migrants and prepare post-lockdown guidelines soon.
“The central thing the government needs to do is be transparent about their actions. What are the boxes they want checked off before they start opening things. The government should tell people these are the criteria important for opening,” he added.
Gandhi said the government cannot continue the lockdowns without providing support to people who are suffering.
“Opening up is a transition, and government needs to have a strategy to open. I told PM it is not an off and on switch, and it requires coordination on all levels,” he added.
मालगाड़ी से कुचले जाने से मजदूर भाई-बहनों के मारे जाने की ख़बर से स्तब्ध हूं। हमें अपने राष्ट्र निर्माणकर्ताओं के साथ किये जा रहे व्यवहार पर शर्म आनी चाहिए। मारे गए लोगों के परिवारों के प्रति संवेदना व्यक्त करता हूं और घायलों के शीघ्र स्वस्थ होने की प्रार्थना करता हूं।— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) May 8, 2020
Gandhi had earlier in the day expressed shock over the death of migrant workers who were run over by a train in Aurangabad on Friday and said that India should feel “ashamed” about the treatment being given to the country’s “nation-builders.”
“I am shocked at the news of our migrant brothers being killed by a goods train. We should feel ashamed about the treatment being given to our nation-builders. My condolences to the families of those killed and I pray for the quick recovery of the injured,” Gandhi said in a tweet.
At least 16 migrant workers were run over by a train in Aurangabad city of Maharashtra on Friday morning while they were trying to return to their rural homes in Madhya Pradesh.
They had been walking along the rail tracks and slept there due to exhaustion, an official said. They were mowed down by a goods train that was running between Jalna and Aurangabad at 5.15 am.
At least one person has also been injured in the accident and has been taken to the civil hospital.
The labourers, officials said, all worked at an iron factory in Jalna and were headed back to Madhya Pradesh amid the coronavirus lockdown.
Last week, the Congress leader had also slammed the Railways Ministry for charging the fare of tickets from the stranded migrant workers.
"On the one hand, the Railways is charging ticket fares from the labourers stranded in different states, while on the other hand, the Ministry of Railways is giving Rs 151 crore to the PM Care Fund. Just solve this mystery," he wrote on Twitter.
(With inputs from News 18)