Coronavirus Lockdown: Kerala Has 69% Of India’s Government-Run Relief Camps For Migrant Workers
Migrant workers and their families stand behind a barrier at a police checkpoint in Delhi (Photographer: Anindito Mukherjee/Bloomberg)

Coronavirus Lockdown: Kerala Has 69% Of India’s Government-Run Relief Camps For Migrant Workers

Kerala is running the highest number of relief camps for migrant workers left stranded by the 21-day nationwide lockdown for curbing spread of the coronavirus pandemic.

The state has 15,541 of the 22,567 government-run relief camps for migrant workers in the country, according to a report filed by the home ministry with the Supreme Court. That’s 69 percent of all the relief camps and shelters run by state governments across India.

Uttar Pradesh is a distant second with 2,230 government-run camps while Maharashtra ranks third with 1,135.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s order to lock down the country for three weeks had prompted a mass exodus of migrant daily-wage earners back to their villages. Hundreds of thousands of such workers started making a desperate journey home on foot after work dried up in urban areas. Grim pictures of the long walk prompted state governments to set up relief shelters for them.

The Supreme Court had sought the report from the central government last week after a plea was filed seeking payment of wages to all migrant workers.

Kerala’s multi-pronged response to the Covid-19 pandemic has earned the Left Democratic Front government plaudits across the country. The state was the first in the country to announce a Rs 20,000-crore package to respond to the pandemic.

Besides, it has also taken measures to ensure that 1.44 lakh “guest” migrant workers in the states are provided with accommodation and free meals.

Naturally, the state also houses the most number of persons.

While most state governments are trying to ensure that such workers get as much relief as possible, they’ve gotten significant help from non-governmental organisations.

According to the home ministry’s report, relief camps run by NGOs are housing over 4.05 lakh people across the country.

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