STATE TIMES NEWS JAMMU: As a part of his mass contact programme to enquire about grievances of urban poor and rural vulnerable sections of society, in Gandhi Nagar constituency during lockdown, former Minister and senior Congress leader Raman Bhalla intensified distribution of ration among needy families on Friday. Speaking on the occasion, former Minister urged government to urgently adopt measures to protect country’s poorest and most vulnerable people to deal with COVID-19. “The lockdown has already disproportionately hurt marginalised communities due to loss of livelihood and lack of food, shelter, healthcare facilities, and other basic needs. The government owes a responsibility to protect health and well-being of population, but some of these steps have left thousands of out-of-work migrant workers stranded, with rail and bus services shutdown,” he said. “Blanket closing of state borders has caused disruption in supply of essential goods, leading to high inflation and fear of shortage. Thousands of homeless people are in need of protection. No doubt Indian Government is facing an extraordinary challenge to protect over a billion densely packed people, but ramped-up efforts to prevent spread of coronavirus in India need to include rights’ protections,” said Bhalla. “Authorities should recognize that malnourishment and untreated illness will exacerbate problems and should ensure that most marginalized don’t bear an unfair burden from lack of essential supplies.” Bhalla asked the government to provide free food and cash assistance to poor and vulnerable population, and health insurance for healthcare workers, among other things. The government should take urgent steps to send stranded migrant workers safely to their homes, he added. Former Minister distributed ration in slums located at Sanjay Nagar, Preet Nagar, Nanak Nagar. Those who accompanied Bhalla included Narinder Singh, Sanjay Gupta Murli, Bansi Lal, Kulbhushan Sharma, Sonu Mengi, Ram Murti, G S Sudan Prince, Babli Madam, Pardeep Kumar, Rajvinder Singh, Bittu Sethi, Sham, Pawan Master and Manjeet Singh.
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