Govt reactivates 20 control rooms as lockdown accelerates reverse migration

New Delhi: The Union government Tuesday reactivated 20 control rooms across India to deal with wage grievances and coordinate with states, as provincial lockdowns and curbs have accelerated reverse migration.

The central labour commission (CLC) said the move will address “wage related grievances of workers employed in the central sphere, and to mitigate the problems of migrant workers through coordination with various state governments”.

The CLC under the labour ministry had set up control rooms last year during the peak of the national lockdown and rising covid-19 cases but were largely defunct for last few months as situation was improving and people were coming back to urban centres to resume work.

Central chief labour commissioner D.P. S. Negi said that though pandemic challenges are huge because workers are affected in various ways, his office in coordination with team of officers “will try to mitigate problems of workers as much as possible”.

He said concerned officials and control rooms in several states have been advised to adopt a “humane approach to assist the aggrieved workmen to the maximum possible extent and ensure delivery of timely relief to the needy ones”.

India is in the middle of a massive surge in coronavirus positive cases and reporting high death numbers. It has pushed states to go for lockdowns, curbs and curfews to restrict the spread of the virus. The second reverse migration that has begun in several states, including Delhi, will have a negative consequences on several industrial sectors and economic activities. And in the past two weeks, industries and traders’ communities from Tamil Nadu to Haryana, and Maharashtra to Delhi have expressed their fear over the consequence of a second wave of reverse migration.

The six-day lockdown in Delhi on Monday saw a beeline of migrants at inter-state bus terminals and at railways stations, especially the Anand Vihar Railway Station in Delhi from where dozens of trains depart every day to Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, and other eastern Indian states. There is also a six-day lockdown in five key cities of Uttar Pradesh, including Lucknow, Kanpur and Varanasi, and stricter curbs in states such as Maharashtra, Gujarat and Rajasthan.

On Monday, Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal had appealed to migrants not to leave the capital city and had said that the decision of a lockdown was taken when there is no other option left with the administration. He also sai that lockdown leads to massive “loss of jobs and income. And for poor and daily wage workers it’s most difficult”.

“I appeal to you with folded hands. It’s a small lockdown, only for six days. Don’t leave Delhi & go. I’m very hopeful that we won’t need to further extend the lockdown…Govt will take care of you,” Kejriwal said.

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