'Entire nation heard cries of migrants but not govt'

Entire country heard cries of migrants but not govt: Sonia Gandhi

Congress President Sonia Gandhi on Thursday said the entire country has heard the cries of pain of migrants "except the government" and urged the Centre to unlock its coffers to help those affected by the coronavirus-induced lockdown.

In a video message posted as part of the Congress' 'Speak Up India' campaign launched on Thursday, she demanded that the government provide Rs 7,500 to each needy family for the next six months.


Gandhi lamented that even though the country is passing through a serious economic crisis with loss of livelihood, the central government has not helped those affected.

"It is for the first time since Independence that such a spectre of pain and anguish has been witnessed, where lakhs of famished and thirsty labourers have been forced to walk hundreds of thousands of kilometres back home barefoot and without any access to medicines or transport," she said.

"Everyone across the country except the government heard their cries of pain and trauma," she said in her video message on the party's social media handles.

Gandhi said instead of loans, the government should provide financial relief to small and medium industry so that crores of jobs are saved and the country progresses.

Noting that crores of livelihoods have been lost, lakhs of businesses and factories shut and farmers are running from pillar to post to self their produce, she said, "The entire country endured this pain but probably the government did not."

"We again urge the Centre to unlock its coffers and help the needy. Put direct cash of Rs 7,500 per month in the account of every family for the next six months and provide Rs 10,000 immediately; ensure safe and free travel of labourers back home, employment opportunity and rations; and also increase the number of work days under MNREGA to 200 days to facilitate jobs in villages," Gandhi said.

From day one, Congress workers and leaders, economists and social scientists and all leading citizens have told the government repeatedly to come forward and heal the wounds of people and help farmers, labourers, and traders, she recalled.

"We don't know why the Centre is refusing to understand this issue and implement measures to address it. That is why the Congress has decided that it will run a social campaign to power the voice of India," she said.

Asking people to join the campaign and share their problems, Gandhi said this will help the party strengthen the voice of people.

"We stand by every citizen in this hour of crisis and together we will overcome these tough times," she said.

A host of Congress leaders and workers have put out their messages on social media, asking the government to reach out those in need.

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