Bhubaneswar: The Citizens’ Action Group on COVID-19 has expressed grave concern over the decision of the Odisha government to make the Aadhaar data mandatory for the registration of the migrant Odia labourers, waiting to return to the state after the lockdown restrictions are lifted.
“While more than 5 lakh migrant workers, who are willing to return to their home state after the second-phase lockdown, most of them are informal sector workers. It is possible and fair to assume that a sizeable number of them might not be having an Aadhaar card or be carrying it. We would like to submit that as we are witnessing an unprecedented humanitarian crisis and in such a situation, our approach should be one of making things easy for the most vulnerable sections of the society. Hence, making Aadhaar mandatory for registration doesn’t serve that approach well,” the group said in a letter to the Chief Minister.
The Group has urged the government to consider other alternative options, such as voter ID, driving license or even post-registration authentication by the Panchayat.
The group also contended that the online registration should not be the only source of mapping data on stranded people or workers. “The details submitted by various helplines set up since the outbreak of the virus and the data available with the inter-state migrant workers’ register and information collected by the Gram Panchayats from affected families should be treated as equally valid,” it pointed out.
Drawing the attention of the Chief Minister on the exploitative nature of the networks through which migrants seek work and travel, the citizen’s body urged him to take necessary steps to ensure that the stranded workers are able to register themselves without any hindrance or coercion.