More than one crore migrant labourers returned to their home states on foot during March-June 2020, including those who travelled during the COVID-19 pandemic-induced lockdown, the government said on Tuesday.
"COVID-19 has resulted in migration of large number of workers from destination states to the home states," Minister of State for Road Transport and Highways VK Singh told Lok Sabha in a written reply on Tuesday.
As per the data compiled by Ministry of Labour and Employment, more than 1.06 crore migrant workers, including those who travelled on foot during the lockdown, returned to their home states, he said. As per provisional available information, 81,385 accidents occurred on the roads (including national highways) during the period March-June with 29,415 fatalities, Singh informed Parliament.
However, he said the ministry does not maintain separate data in respect of migrant workers who have died in road accidents during the lockdown.
Singh said the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) issued regular advisories to state/union territories to take all necessary measures to provide shelters, food, water, health facilities and also proper counselling to migrant workers.
"This ministry had assisted the movement of migrant labourers walking on foot on the various national highways all across the country by providing them food, drinking water, basic medicines and foot wears," he said. They were also provided with resting places and assistance in terms of the arrangement of transport with the help of local administration to take them to the places nearest to their destinations, he said.
MHA orders dated April 29 and May 1 had allowed the movement of migrant workers to their native places by buses and Shramik special trains, respectively, he said.