NEW DELHI: Combatting coronavirus seems to have initiated a new coordination between the state governments across the country. West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday wrote to her counterparts in 18 other states to work out a coordinating mechanism between them to rescue and help migrant workers who are caught in the lockdown.
Banerjee communicated to 18 other chief ministers after she recieved information about a group of workers being caught in Maharashtra, who were helpless and stuck without any provisions for food or shelter and unable to return home. She spoke to Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackaray around 10 am, asking him to get help for the stranded workers. With the Maharashtra administration swinging into prompt action, by 2 pm the issue was resolved and the group of workers were rescued to a shelter and provided with food.
This situation and its resolution prompted Banerjee to write to chief ministers in 17 other states, saying that, “many semi-skilled and unskilled workers who are residents of West Bengal are stuck in these states … Since it is not possible for us to reach any help to them, I take the opportunity to request you to kindly ask your administration to provide them with basic shelter, food and medical support during this period of crisis. We in Bengal are taking care of such people stuck in our state. My chief secretary will pass on the details of such people to your chief secretaries to hasten up the process of humanitarian support in this hour of crisis.”
Apart from her communication with Thackaray, Banerjee on Thursday wrote to the chief ministers of Tamil Nadu, Odisha, Telengana, Karnataka, Kerala, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Uttarakhand, Delhi, Jharkhand, Rajasthan, Bihar, Goa, Gujarat, Chhattisgarh, Andhra Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh.
With this initiative, Banerjee has initiated a process of coordination between the state governments to help and support the stranded migrant workers who had nowhere to look for help while being caught in the lockdown and left without resources to take care of themselves.
If the coordination works the mobility of these groups of workers can also be restricted, helping break the chain for the coronavirus to travel.