“It is not like we are getting a kick out of walking”
– by Ramakrishnan Manikandan
I never thought I could share my grief through writing, this is the first time am trying to convey my grief and disappointments through words.
As I start to write whatever this is, there is something itching in my mind and heart, “am I a human being?”
I thought I had a cold heart, I thought I could with stand every situation thrown at me.
To be honest I never thought, I would think of other people’s situations. To me, my-self happiness and containment is the most important thing in the world.
Even for me, the situations my fellow people have been thrown at are the worst. I honestly doubt that if I would survive the situation they are in.
The situation is to get home from wherever you are right now in India
Even for a well sophisticated person it is really hard to reach home right now, well if you could pay for a flight ticket which would cost a fortune even then it is really hard for people.
So what about the migrant labors who work near your home, office, school?
Can they afford to take a flight home, No?
Can they take the shramik special train to their home town? Yes but there is a small technical problem. What is the problem they just have to wait till the government announces a train to their place?
If it was that easy, I wouldn’t be writing whatever this is!
What can be so difficult? You have to just take an E-Pass and done you go to your home town.
No, that is not the case for the migrant workers your home state has to accept you in.
What if your home state doesn’t accept you in by issuing an E-Pass, then one has to wait in the state wherever you are right now.
It is easy for us to stay in our home for more than 45 days without any earning but not for the daily labors that are dependent on the daily wages.
Since they have left their work to leave town their owners won’t support them, as they are in other state their home state won’t accept them in, because they are migrant workers the state which they are dependent upon won’t care.
Without any proper guidance and help they start to walk to their homes.
Am sure it is not as easy as I say it, from Chennai to Odisha it is 1,280 Kms approx which can take upto 11 days under normal circumstances.
Think how families with toddlers and babies can walk that long in peak summer without any proper food and water.
Think how much trauma would those toddlers and children would have gone through.
What did they do to deserve this?
Is it their mistake to migrate to another state to make a living?
What did they do? They built your city’s fancy high risers, highways & metro stations.
What is the use of Technology and education when it is not used for the people who are in dire need of guidance and support?
When the government could release an App for contact tracing, mapping and self assessment then why the government did not do anything for its migrant labors?
When the government could arrange flights for its citizens who are abroad during lock down why it is not possible to arrange train for their labor force?
When I see the tears of those people who walked to their villages for days and days with inadequate food and water, I feel like I could have done more than just sharing the video in social media.
I used to say the phrase “what can I do?” often but now I feel more like I should have done something to help those people or at least someone should have done something so that they would not have to go through such a traumatic experience which would scare them for their rest of the life.
Yes, government arranged special trains; Politicians arranged buses, celebrities arranged food these were all during the third phase.
Why there weren’t any arrangements made initially? When the lock down was announced
Aren’t we equipped with enough government officials?
Aren’t we equipped with enough funds?
Enough is enough.
I will try not to say “What can I do” anymore.
The article has been written and brought to you by Ramakrishnan Manikandan
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