Lakhs flee Mumbai amid fears of COVID-19 and job loss

Lakhs flee Mumbai amid fears of coronavirus, wage cut and job loss

Heavy rush was witnessed in terminus/stations of as migrant workers were seen catching upcountry trains

Migrant workers and their families queue to board a train at a railway station, after government imposed restrictions on public gatherings in attempts to prevent spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Mumbai, India, March 21, 2020. (Reuters Photo)

Amid rise in COVID-19 positive cases, fears of job loss and wage cuts, lakhs of migrant workers in Maharashtra are leaving for their home towns.

However, the Labour Commissioner's office of the Maharashtra government issued a circular requesting employers of public/private sector establishments not to terminate employees, particularly casual or contractual, from their jobs or reduce their wages.

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Migrants play a big role in the running of Mumbai and the larger Mumbai metropolitan region (MMR).

"The termination of employees from job or reduction in wages in this scenario would further deepen the crisis and will not only deepen the financial condition of the employees but also hamper their morale to combat this epidemic," Commissioner of Labour Dr Mahendra Kalyankar said.

He also said that if any worker takes leave, he/she should be deemed to be on duty without consequential deduction in wages of this period.

Meanwhile, heavy rush was witnessed in terminus/stations of the Central Railway and Western Railway, where migrant workers were seen catching upcountry trains.

This also compounded the threat of spread of the disease.

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