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AICTE, Mumbai University announce online workshop from 13 May to 17 May on 'Universal Human Values in Education'

The University of Mumbai in collaboration with AICTE (Western Region) will be organising an online workshop on 'Universal Human Values in Education' for institutions offering technical education.The workshop will commence on 13 May and end on 17 May. According to University of Mumbai, the workshop is of paramount significance to continue learning process amid COVID-19 pandemic and the lockdown.The workshop will be conducted in Hindi and English. The morning session will be from 9:30 am to 1:30 pm and the evening session will be from 6:00 pm to 7:30 pm.File image of Mumbai University. Image courtesy Wikimedia Commons “To understand the basics of value education an online workshop is being organized exclusively for the Vice Chancellors of Technical Universities and University Coordinators appointed for coordinating the activities related to FDPs on Student Induction Programme,” the circular said.The workshop is specifically designed for sharing All India Council for Technical Edu…

COVID-19 Lockdown 3.0: Waiting for special trains to take them home, migrant workers in Hyderabad battle hunger and helplessness

Trapped in lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic, over a thousand migrant workers staying in Hyderabad's Tolichowki took to the streets on Sunday demanding to be taken home.

Even after umpteen visits to the nearby Langar House Police station to seek information about the special trains scheduled from Hyderabad to their home states, as per the directive from the Ministry of Home Affairs, their patience ran thin, and they, in desperation and anguish, resorted to staging a sit-in at Tolichowki junction.

Migrant workers wait to be moved from Telangana to Jharkhand. News18

Migrant workers wait to be moved from Telangana to Jharkhand. News18

Similar cases of a huge number of migrant workers thronging Secunderabad railway station and other places in the city have come to light. Inept handling of the situation by the administration, poor communication, and rumour-mongering on social media are to be blamed for this chaos.

The local police interacted with the workers, noted down their details, and assured them of help. A majority hail from Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Odisha and Jharkhand, and work at restaurants, construction sites, garment stores and salons.

The worst-hit victims of the lockdown and the subsequent economic crisis are migrant workers and daily wagers left stranded for weeks in metros without rations and food and with no support from their employers.

While special trains filled with migrant labourers have started departing, for many the future remains uncertain due to the state government's poor planning.

Hunger pandemic

Post the announcement of lockdown, the migrant workers in Hyderabad have been staying at construction sites or temporary shelters set up all over the city, where living conditions are poor.

Some of them have been kicked out of their rented places because they have been unable to pay the landlord or due to discrimination. Many have not eaten in days.

“They just dumped us here without food and water,” said Yogendra, a 37-year-old from Uttar Pradesh. Yogendra and his wife are staying at a temporary shelter in Secunderabad that houses around 200.

Yogendra has been working at a restaurant in Hyderabad for over a year. After the lockdown, he was shifted to a temporary shelter. A local activist has been providing Yogendra and others in his shelter with food and water.

It is incumbent on governments to provide the necessary rations and food to these. And this isn't just a moral responsibility, but is also important from a policy perspective.

The UN World Food Programme (WFP) chief David Beasley has warned that the would could face a “hunger pandemic” due to COVID-19.

Despite the state government’s promise of 12 kg rice and Rs 500 per person every month, many workers staying in areas such as Lingampally, Gudimalkapur and Tolichowki complain of not receiving rations or any assistance from the government.

Hyderabad district civil supply officer, C Padma, said over the phone, “Separate counters have been set up for migrant labour under the supervision of the collectorate as part of disaster management.”

Sangeetha, Deputy Collector, Hyderabad, said, “Ration kits have been distributed among 73,000 migrants in two phases.” She added that this assistance was mostly extended to workers from the unorganised sector.

Civil rights activist Khalida Parveen, who feeds hundreds of migrant workers every day, said, “The government needs to act swiftly. They can’t just leave the migrant workers to fend for themselves.”

On Tuesday, Nobel laureate Abhijit Banerjee called upon the government to hand out temporary ration cards for three to six months in order to feed the poor and save their lives.

Risk of outbreak

Ignoring the plight of the migrant workers can have deadly consequences. Workers are extremely vulnerable to the virus due to poor living conditions that make social distancing impossible. The places they're staying in are cramped and could emerge as COVID-19 hotspots.

Athar, a restaurant worker, stays in Salarjung colony with 100 other workers in a two-storey building. Up to 20 people share one room. The slums in Lingampally, Madhapur, Tolichowki, Banjara Hills, Musheerabad and Mehdipatnam are full of such potential hotspots where dozens of workers share cramped accommodations.

Over-crowded living spaces, unavailability of masks and sanitisers, poor sanitation, and lack of hygiene and clean drinking water will only further expose them to the virus and other health risks.

We can’t defeat this pandemic by ignoring the less fortunate sections of society because even a single case could make matters worse. State governments must step up, treat them as equally important stakeholders, and take them along in this fight.

Desperate to return home

The workers have only one desire: to return to their families in peace. They have been visiting local police stations with their details and trying to reach out to the helpline numbers provided by the state but haven’t yet received a proper response.

With each passing day, they are growing restless. They want to reach home by any means necessary.

As a last resort, dozens of workers have been walking hundreds of kilometers in batches in the scorching summer through the National Highway-44 to their home states. Hundreds of migrants were stranded for weeks in Adilabad district on the border of Telangana, unable to return home.

“We are stuck,” said Sanjay. The 27-year-old salesman working at reputed textile store in Hyderabad's Panjagutta looked apprehensive. “Our future in uncertain.”

Sanjay and 15 others in his group have walked over 300 kilometres. They reached Adilabad on Monday.

However, for the last couple of days, the police have been allowing migrants to cross the Telangana border. Vishnu Warrier, Superintendent of Police. of Adilabad, confirmed the development.

“We are collecting details of the migrants, screening them using thermal scanners, and stamping their hands before allowing them to cross the state border,” Warrier said.

“A whopping 15,000 migrants are leaving the Telangana state border on the northern side every day,” he added.

With this kind of chaos and confusion, the government needs to streamline its communication and make it more robust to avoid whispering and rumour-mongering, which is actually creating panic.

“The government needs to provide clarity on the guidelines for migrant workers, registration process, schedule of trains and thermal testing,” said Meera Sanghamitra, member of ‘COVID-19 Advocacy Lockdown Collective’, an umbrella of various civil society organisations.

Sanghamitra also urged the government to engage with civil society and other Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) to counsel the workers and take them into confidence.

Rashmi, another stranded worker, blames the government for poor planning. “Had the government provided a couple of days notice before the lockdown, we would have planned accordingly,” she said.

Meanwhile, as per an official release of the Telangana government, Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao requested officials of the South Central Railway (SCR) to organise travel of migrant workers in the next couple of days.



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