Congress member Anand Sharma on Wednesday sought compensation for families of migrant workers who died while walking thousands of kilometres to their native places after the lockdown was imposed in the country to check the spread of COVID-19. While initiating a discussion on the coronavirus pandemic in Rajya Sabha, Sharma also asked the government to take steps to strengthen the public healthcare system in the country.
"It was said during the currentsession that there are no figures regarding the death of migrant workers during the lockdown and therefore no compensation. This is such an unfortunate situation for the country. Why you don't have figures? Every state knows who died. They should be given compensation," Sharma said. He said for future the government should make a data base regarding migrant workers in the country.
"There should be a register and those people who live in cities who did not get food security, ration, please find solution for such exigencies," Sharma said. He said state governments should have been taken into confidence so that they could have prepared better.
"Local administration knows where construction labour camps are located and how many people work there. This did not happen so what happened was that in four hours railways stopped. This led to painful scenes and the picture of the country which went out were not good," Sharma noted. He said people walked on foot for thousands of kilometers and in some cases many people were also found travelling to their native places inside cement mixer trucks.
"Also if proper quarantine centres would have been set up on time for people returning to their native places, the disease would not have reached villages," Sharma said. The Centre had imposed a nationwide lockdown on March 24 to check the spread of coronavirus.