Nitish Kumar refuses to take up Bihari migrants’ case even when Yogi brings them to his doorstep

Amid the Corona virus outbreak, all Chief Ministers have employed their full capacity in fight against the disease. And the fight against Corona is either bringing best or the worst in these leaders. So far, Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik and UP CM Yogi Adityanath has proved to be some of the best leaders in fight against the disease and the CM of Bihar, Nitish Kumar, with around one and a half decade of experience, has proved to be one the worst after Arvind Kejriwal.

The problems in UP and Bihar are a lot similar given high population density, low per capita income, and a large migrant population, and therefore, comparing the leadership of these two would make more sense.

On one hand, Yogi Adityanath has made all out efforts to bring every possible relief to migrant laborers not just of UP but of other states like Bihar and Jharkhand too, while on the other hand, Nitish Kumar has not made a single visit to relief camps so far.

In the last few days, Yogi Adityanath has been constantly shuttling between Lucknow, Noida, and Delhi to look after the stranded migrant workers and provide relief measures to them. The UP government has also announced that every construction worker will be given 1,000 rupees per day as compensation for the lockdown period; the government front-loaded the MGNREGA money of around 600 crore rupees and cleared all previous dues in order to make sure that every poor person of the state is economically secure.

 

In contrast to this, Bihar CM does not even want migrant workers to come back to state, given the additional burden it will pose on the administration. “The entire purpose of lockdown will be defeated if thousands of migrants are sent to Bihar by buses. My Government has already asked the Bihar Resident Commissioner in New Delhi to coordinate with different State Governments and reimburse the cost involved in providing food and shelter to migrants who are on their way to Bihar. We have already announced a Rs 100 crore package for them (migrants),” said Nitish here on Saturday.

It is true that sending back the migrant workers to their home states is not a solution but it is also equally true that the workers are hell bent on reaching back home, and they are even willing to walk back home if transportation is not provided. But instead of taking care of migrant workers of the state, Nitish Kumar government is showing complete apathy to them.

The preparedness and apathy of the Bihar government could be seen in this video posted by Prashant Kishore, where migrant workers broke down for relief. “One more frightening picture of official efforts to protect people from the coronavirus epidemic – poor migrants who came from various parts of the country after suffering many hardships are subjected to this heart-wrenching arrangement for social distancing and quarantine by Nitish Kumar,” tweeted Prashant Kishore, and asked for Nitish’s resignation.

In Bihar, around 60,000 migrants reached before lockdown; 40,000 reached on Sunday; 50,000 expected to reach today. Lakhs of migrants reached form Delhi to UP-Bihar border where the buses of UP states transport left them. Similarly, migrant workers from neighboring states reached bordering districts, and now they are waiting to reach back home.

“We are providing them food and shelter in specially created relief camps at the borders. Doctors would screen each of them. Then, all these migrant workers would be sent to their villages in vehicles arranged by the state government,” said Prtyaya Amrit, Principal Secretary, Disaster Management Department but the kind of treatment given to migrant workers could be seen in the video posted by Prashant Kishore.

As per 2011 census, Bihar has around 2.5 crore migrant workers, which is equal to population of smaller states like Punjab or Haryana. Out of the 2.5 crore workers, 2 crore come from rural areas and 50 lakh from urban areas, and majority of them work as daily wage laborers in various states like Maharashtra, Haryana, Punjab, and UT of Delhi. These migrant workers bring millions of dollars in remittances to the state and help the economy of the state as well as support their families. But the apathy of Nitish Kumar government towards the migrant laborers, who contribute billions of dollars, is appalling.

He has completely failed to the people of state despite experience of more than one decade while Yogi Adityanath, the young and dynamic CM of Uttar Pradesh with just 3 years of experience, shines like a new penny.