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Migrant crisis is not just an economic issue, says Dharmendra Pradhan

He did, however, say that certain states need to be proactive in facilitating the return of their people.

Marya Shakil

Union Minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas Dharmendra Pradhan on May 19 said the migrant crisis unfolding on the streets of Indian cities is not just an economic issue, but also a social and psychological one.

In an exclusive interview to CNN-News18, Pradhan made the point that the Centre has not gone wrong on the issue of migrant workers, adding that it is also the responsibility of state governments.

He said this is a humanitarian issue and there is a need to understand and take a look at the anxiety of these migrants. A sizeable part of India's population, he said, is working in the western and southern parts of the country but they hail from the eastern region of the country.


The union minister said that migrants working in cities who are stranded there want to return to their native towns and villages to be with their near and dear ones. Even as the Centre has started operating special trains to ferry them, the number of people waiting to be taken back home is huge, which he pointed out, is a problem.

More than 1,000 trains have ferried people to their native places, with buses being operated to facilitate their movement, he noted. Congratulating Railways Minister Piyush Goyal, he said, "Railway Ministry has provided as many trains as the states are expecting."

He did, however, say that certain states need to be proactive in facilitating the return of their people. Meanwhile, he also pointed out that states like Kerala and Gujarat have taken the utmost care to ensure the return of migrants to their native states. However, there is no denying that there are certain issues, he added.

In the early parts of the interview, Pradhan said that oil prices are expected to "bounce back" in the near future. He said the government had not hiked retail prices during the COVID-19 crisis.

Read More | Oil prices will bounce back in the near future: Dharmendra Pradhan

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First Published on May 19, 2020 09:43 pm