West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday reached out to chief ministers of 18 other states to provide basic amenities to people from her state who have been stuck due to the ongoing nationwide lockdown. Mamata wrote to the chief ministers urging them to provide food and shelter to stranded workers stuck in their respective states. In a letter addressed to Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, Banerjee said many semi-skilled and unskilled workers are stuck in Maharashtra. "They are generally in groups of 50-100 and can be easily identified by the local administration…kindly ask your administration to provide them with basic shelter, food and medical support during this period of crisis."
Such appeals have also been made to chief ministers of Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Odisha, Telangana, Karnataka, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Uttarakhand, Delhi, Jharkhand, Kerala, Rajasthan, Bihar, Goa, Gujarat, Chhattisgarh and Uttar Pradesh. The letters come amid reports that daily wage workers from various states have been stranded in cities and have nowhere to go because of the complete shutdown imposed by the Centre.
With no income in hand, such workers have been forced to stay put without food or set out for their hometowns inviting action by police who have seized almost every point connecting districts or state borders. Despite this, people have been trying to escape the big cities to reach their native places. Some of them even said that if not for the disease, they would surely die of hunger.
"We are surviving without food and water here. We request the government to help us. It is better to die of this disease (coronavirus) rather than dying of hunger," Rajwati, a daily wage labourer who is stranded at Delhi’s Fatehpur Beri said while speaking to news agency ANI. Another daily wage worker who is from Bihar, Samima said that their children had been surviving on water for the past two days. "Landlords are demanding the monthly rent. I urge the government to either help or send us to our villages," she said. The states have been coordinating with each other and announcing helpline numbers to assist their people stranded in various parts of the country.