Date: April 2, 2020
I have been fearful that migrants coming back to their respective villages may lead to an outbreak endangering the lives of many. But the situation is much complex and with many people at stake. When the Chakradharpur team reached out to people in the villages during the Covid-19 crisis and lockdown, the major concern that people had was about the migrants who got stuck in their places of work all over the country with no food and place to stay. I focused on establishing migrants’ and their families’ connection to helplines as circulated widely, but it was far from enough.
With the increasing number of shared migrants’ list, I realized that PRADAN will have to intervene. Talking and calming the migrants out ‘there’, it was clear that staying in the city of their work is a luxury that they cannot afford. From un-dealt helpline calls, new place, new language, depleting earnings, mental harassment to procure government distributed rations, physical harassments by the police while trying to get donated money from ATMs, worries about lodging, life threatening tag of coronavirus messenger to deciding which meal of the day is worthy of the last morsel; the string of hardships and struggles is yet to end. For them walking back home from Maharashtra and Gujarat is easier than staying at their place.
For the last two days, I am connecting these migrants to the government as well as different organizations, trusts, donors, etc. in search of immediate relief. So far, relief kits have been ensured to 285 migrants. In Chakradharpur, people from the villages where we operate are relying on us during this crisis. Nevertheless, they are also worried about the migrants in the unknown cities, who happened to be their immediate family members, friends and acquaintances. We need to connect and reach out to them as well. When I get a call saying, “Sir! ration mil gaya”, it washes away all the de-heartening sharings of crushed expectations of help and relief by other migrants, and energizes to help them all. Well addressing me as ‘Sir’ is another story, and I will share it with all of you sometime later.
This is just a beginning. Let us all join hands and help people out ‘there’ as well. May this time bring out the best in everyone!
Following are the photos of the migrants in Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu who received their relief rations today. Moreover, the factory owner in Tamil Nadu finally agreed to provide free boarding and lodging to its workers as per local government’s orders.