To Karnataka Labor Minister Shivaram Hebbar, Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa .
Ask: Adequate notification and clarity for migrant workers wanting to leave. Rations and provisions for the migrant workers chosing to stay.
Update: While the Karnataka government has made a U-turn decision on migrant trains. Many parts such as the “how” and “who is paying?” are yet to be accounted for. Karnataka High Court has recently asked the Government to make the cost of the trains free for migrant workers willing to leave.
With local groups of volunteers offering them rations at personal cost, it becomes difficult for the migrant workers in Karnataka to sustain themselves. Those that want to leave, have no idea of the formalities needed, those that want to stay need rations to survive.
We need rations for those staying on in Karnataka and clarity for those willing to leave.
To BBMP Commissioner N. Manjunath Prasad, Karnataka Labor Minister Shivaram Hebbar, Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa .
Ask: Redact the notification to the railways and re-start the railway service for migrant workers.
On April 30th the Ministry of Home Affairs finally sent out an ordinance allowing inter-state travel of students and migrant workers. This was the result of multiple news reports highlighting the plight of migrant workers sans wages and rations since the lockdown kicked in in March- and thus was a delayed but much-needed move. Many states rushed to help these workers back, in tandem with the Indian railway’s ministry. The Karnataka government even appointed a nodal officer to facilitate the orderly movement of those stranded during this lockdown.1
Yet, on Wednesday, 6 May, just hours after Karnataka Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa met the Confederation of Real Estate Developers Associations of India (CREDAI), the government has decided to cancel all trains that were meant to ferry migrant workers to their home town.2 This news comes alongside the Karnataka Transport Minister’s3 refusal to accept Congress' donation of Rs 1 crore to bear migrants' transportation fare. The money that is sorely needed by the state to ensure the welfare of its workers. In both cases, it is made clear that continuing a political agenda and ensuring the well-being of property developers over basic citizen rights.
These decisions come at the cost of the mental well-being of thousands of migrant workers, who have been struggling since the lockdown was first announced in March, have been denied wages and rations, and simply want to go home. What they are being told instead, is to get back to work when all one wants to do in an uncertain pandemic situation is be at home, with their families. Indentured slavery is what some are calling this situation and it’s not far off the mark.
There has been no official briefing on why these decisions were taken, nor has any reasoning been shared by the officers in charge. Not only is Karnataka actively working against the Home Ministry’s orders, but it is also doing so at the behest of CREDAI.
We request Manjunatha Prasad, Commissioner of BBMP to redact this letter. Bangalore’s developers cannot come before thousands of citizens, who have been wronged throughout this whole lockdown. We need to start an uproar to ensure that this wrong is undone and upturned as soon as possible. Sign this petition now!