GUWAHATI, May 19 - The Assam State council of Communist Party of India (CPI) today staged protests here against what it termed the �indifference of the Central government� towards the plight of the migrant workers and poor people of the country during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and nationwide lockdown.
Cadres of the party, led by State council secretary Munin Mahanta, staged dharna outside the CPI Kamrup (Metro) district office at Guwahati Club and outside the office of the All India Trade Union Congress (AITUC) at AIDC by maintaining social distancing norms.
They shouted slogans against the government and called for prompt action to facilitate transportation of migrant workers and for alleviating the suffering of the needy sections of society.
�Thousands of migrant workers are facing unprecedented hardships due to loss of livelihood, lack of food and finance to reach their homes and support their families. The government is ignoring their plight and miseries. The Prime Minister�s announcement of the Rs 20 lakh crore package and the details given by the Union Finance Minister are just political rhetoric. They have nothing substantial to address the present crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Indian economy was already sick and sinking due to the disastrous neo-liberal policies pursued by the Modi government. COVID-19 has only exacerbated the crisis,� said Mahanta.
He added, �People should not be allowed to feel helpless and live in despair at this time of crisis. Therefore, our party has to intervene and protest against the callousness of the Union government. The emerging situation demands immediate intervention and response.�
The event was held as part of CPI�s nationwide agitation programme.
The Assam unit of CPI also sent a memorandum to Prime Minister Narendra Modi calling for more trains and buses for migrant workers and to provide them with food and drinking water.
�We have asked the Centre to give Rs 10,000 to each worker as travel allowance. We also demand that the Centre refrain from diluting the MGNREGA. It should increase the number of days of work and ensure timely payment to all adult members of each family under MGNREGA. The government should also guarantee urban employment and shelter. There should be no conditionality for providing ration and labour laws should not be diluted,� said Mahanta.
He added, �In addition, among our demands which we have mentioned in our memorandum is that the Central government should immediately address issues of the rural poor and the small and marginal farmers. We have also demanded enhancement of pension to the elderly people, widows and differently-abled.�