Centre should have addressed migrant workers’ woes much earlier: Siddaramaiah
Opposition parties in Karnataka want Covid-19 to be declared a national disaster and have pressed the state government to demand a Rs 50,000-crore relief package from the Centre.
On Friday, former CM Siddaramaiah led a delegation of leaders of opposition parties and farmers’ organisations to meet Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa on measures to mitigate the effect of the lockdown on the working class. He criticized the Cenre for not giving Karnataka its share of the PM-CARES fund.
Siddaramaiah said people from various strata had met him and shared their concerns, and it was his duty as leader of the opposition to bring it to the government’s notice.
He said the Centre should have stopped flight services much earlier and the plight of migrant workers should have been addressed sooner. “Corona should be declared a national disaster… there is over Rs 35,000 crore in the PM-CARES fund but not even a paise has come to the state. At least the Centre should have given us the money that went from the state,” he was quoted as saying in a release by his office.
While welcoming the CM’s Rs 1,610-crore relief package, Siddaramaiah noted that other sections like goldsmiths, carpenters, cobblers, tailors and ironsmiths had been left out. The one-time compensation of Rs 5,000 for washermen, barbers, autorickshaw drivers and cabbies was inadequate and the government should instead give them Rs 2,000 per month till the lockdown ends, he said.
The former CM called for more Covid-19 tests, more PPEs for frontline health staff, and incentives for ASHA (Accredited Social Health Activist) workers. He urged the government to be on its guard as experts have predicted a spike in June and July.
Later, a statement from the Chief Minister’s Office the opposition leaders had complimented the government for the steps taken to control COVID-19 and had extended their cooperation. It said the CM assured the delegation that sections left out of the Rs 1,610- crore relief package would be considered later.