Food riots may occur if food is not present for migrant workers: Pronab Sen

Former chief statistician Pronab Sen warned that if the food needs of migrant workers without income are not met in a context of national blockage, then a “food riot” could be a real possibility.

In an interview with The Wire, Sen said that if the coronavirus pandemic spreads to rural areas, containment will be impossible.

Following the country’s closure to combat the threat of coronaviruses, thousands of migrant workers from Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and other states have started to return to their home states from cities, including Delhi and Mumbai.

“The problem is that if food is not made available (for migrant workers) and that, we saw in this country earlier, we had food riots during times of famine.

“… we could have food riots again if food is not available. Let us be clear,” said the economist while responding to a question about the impact of the lockdown on the vulnerable section of the city. ‘India.

“If the supply system does not take off, if the needs of people without income are not met, food riots are a very real possibility,” Sen said.

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Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal said on Friday that government will serve lunch and dinner to nearly four lakhs in more than 224 night shelters, 325 schools and other locations on Saturday.

He stressed that the overall goal of the lockdown was to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

“Now if we find ourselves in a situation where a very large number of people are forced to assemble in a very short period of time to have access to food, whether it is meals cooked in the rain will base or of what they did in Punjab and Uttarakhand which is shops will only open at three in the morning which is a classic curfew pattern … you will probably get a higher spread of the infection because of that … “, Sen observed.

Struck by foreclosure, daily bets, migrants walk for days to reach their homes

As Prime Minister Narendra Modi urges people to stay indoors while announcing the 21-day nationwide lockout earlier this week to fight COVID-19, daily betting and migrants have been hit hard by this decision and are trying to return to their country of origin amid the restrictions in place.

READ ALSO: Covid-19: UP government organizes 1,000 buses to transport stranded migrant workers

These people have been forced to walk for miles on foot due to lack of transportation to their respective homes and are reeling from hunger and poverty in the nation’s capital due to the closure of shops and the absence of work.

Recounting her ordeal, Bhola, 70, said: “My feet are sore. I can’t walk. I have been walking since last night. I have to walk 190 more kilometers. I don’t know how I will be able to there is no option for me. “

Another migrant, Ramavtar, who is a painter by profession, broke down after walking for eight long hours. “I am a part-time worker and I paint houses. Since everything is closed, I have no choice here. My family is in Bijnor and I want to go home.”

The Center had announced a complete lockout of the whole country for 21 days to fight COVID-19 on March 22. All road, rail and air services will remain suspended during the lockout.


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