Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra has asked the government to help hundreds of people, a majority of them daily wage and construction workers and their families, who have been walking to their villages from cities amid the complete lockdown over COVID-19.
With businesses shut and constructions stopped in the cities, labourers who make a living from daily wages have suddenly found themselves without jobs and income.
The government has banned all flights, trains and road transport, except the movement of essential supplies, as the novel coronavirus is highly infectious and can spread rapidly through crowds.
“A tragedy is unfolding along the borders in Delhi. Thousands of people have started walking to their homes. They have no support, no food. The terror of coronavirus, unemployment and hunger are pushing them to walk to their villages. I request the government to help them,” Priyanka Gandhi tweeted in a video message.
“Feeling sad looking at thousands of labourers walking towards Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. They are our people, they are Hindustanis, they are labourers. Isn’t it our responsibility to help them? When countless people were stranded abroad, we sent planes to bring them so that they can go home, be with their families. Every person wants to be home during crisis, to be with family,” she said in the one-minute-long video.
दिल्ली के बॉर्डर पर त्रासद स्थिति पैदा हो चुकी है। हजारों की संख्या में लोग पैदल अपने घरों की तरफ निकल पड़े हैं। कोई साधन नहीं, भोजन नहीं।
कोरोना का आतंक, बेरोजगारी और भूख का भय इनके पैरों को घर गाँव की ओर धकेल रहा है।
मैं सरकार से प्रार्थना करती हूँ कृपया इनकी मदद कीजिए। pic.twitter.com/3vsfPDkOpS
— Priyanka Gandhi Vadra (@priyankagandhi) March 27, 2020
“They (labourers) also want the same. They have been working hard in Delhi trying to make a living. All political parties must work together to help them. UP Congress has made a highway task force to help as many of them as possible, but without the government’s support it is not possible for them to reach home. I request the government to help them,” Priyanka Gandhi said.
The 21-day lockdown was necessitated by the spread of COVID-19 across India. At least 724 people in India have been infected with coronavirus, and 17 have died. The highly infectious disease mostly spreads through surface contact and respiratory droplets, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has said.
The lockdown has disrupted supply chains of e-tailers like Flipkart, including those who sell groceries like Big Basket.
Incidents of police action on people walking hundreds of kilometres to their villages have been reported from Uttar Pradesh. While in some cases the police have apologised, others have offered meals and water to people walking homes.
Technically called the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 or SARS-CoV-2, this novel coronavirus causes the COVID-19 disease. A novel virus is one that has not been previously identified in humans.