Civil society group asks for social safety measures for migrant and informal workers from Jharkhand against the backdrop of coronavirus lockdown
-Press release by Jharkhand Janadhikar Mahasabha dated by 25th March, 2020
Jharkhand, like most of India, has woken up late to the COVID-19 pandemic and is yet to provide adequate social security to the people. Although no COVID-19 case has been officially reported in Jharkhand so far, this may be a myth since the state has only one testing centre where only a few dozen samples have been tested, according to local media reports. However, there have been at least three deaths in which the victims came back from Tamil Nadu and Goa recently, and reportedly had symptoms similar to COVID-19 (Check these reports – Palojodi, Chhattarpur). There may be many more untested confirmed cases. The public health system of Jharkhand is in tatters with sick and likely infected persons nowhere to go for assistance. For example, there are only 298 primary health centres in the state with abysmal infrastructure and human resource. This can result in nil reporting which may lead to a sudden explosion.
Along with the health crisis, the 21-days lockout will wreak havoc on the poor and marginalised. In addition to the health services, the government should provide adequate income and food security to the people. In a state with endemic hunger and undernutrition, ensuring food and other essentials for the poor should be top priority. It must be mentioned that since last few days, Jharkhand government is proactively working to check this pandemic. But the response, both in terms of health and welfare initiatives, leaves a lot to be desired. For example, recently many migrant workers were left stranded, without adequate government support, at railway stations and bus stands. (See https://twitter.com/JharkhandJanad1/status/1241995316024340480). In the last two days, government has made some useful announcements like setting up community kitchens or distribution of PDS grains in advance, but they are yet to be implemented.
Please click here to access the demands made by the Jharkhand Janadhikar Mahasabha to the Jharkhand state government.
For more information, please contact the following persons:
Jharkhand Janadhikar Mahasabha
Afzal Anees (9234982712), Bharat Bhushan Choudhary (7838001177), David Solomon (8757690775), Elina Horo (6201324960), Pallavi Pratibha (9915065122) or Siraj Dutta (9939819763)
Press release by Jharkhand Janadhikar Mahasabha dated by 25th March, 2020