Migrant workers struggling for sustenance

Migrant workers preparing their meal at Mettupatti near Alanganallur in Madurai on Tuesday.

Migrant workers preparing their meal at Mettupatti near Alanganallur in Madurai on Tuesday.  


For migrant workers engaged in the borewell industry in the city, the national lockdown imposed to tackle the spread of COVID-19 came as a bolt from the blue. They were left stranded in the city and are finding it difficult to sustain with minimum provisions.

These migrant labourers, predominantly from places like Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and Maharashtra, along with their Tamil counterparts, manage to buy basic provisions like rice and vegetables from the little money they have and stay in borewell trucks, which they have parked on the way to Alanganallur.

Recently a total of 14 migrant workers, all youth, were provided accommodation by the Madurai Legal Awareness Co-ordination Committee, a city-based non-governmental organisation.

One among them, Hopna Murmu from Jharkhand had sent a WhatsApp video message to his family members about his plight. Following which help was sought by his family members and the city-based NGO came to his rescue.

The Madurai Legal Awareness Co-ordination Committee and People’s Watch, another NGO, informed the Alanganallur police and Hopna Murmu and 13 of his associates were given accommodation at Legal Awareness Co-ordination Committee’s centre run by advocate Sahaya Philomin Raj.

“The youth are Scheduled tribes from Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and Maharashtra. Initially we went to rescue the boy who had sent the video message. But seeing the plight of the other 13 boys, we decided to provide shelter to them all” said Mr. Philomin Raj.

The youth said that without proper accommodation and money for sustenance, they had sought help. While these 14 youth have managed to find solace in the NGO, another 14 workers are staying in trucks along the stretch.

Migrant worker, Ravi Yadav from Chhattisgarh said that they could not abandon their trucks. “Me and my associates are managing with the little money we have. We hope that the situation will get better and when the national lockdown is lifted, we will go back home,” he said.

The district administration said that they had earlier enquired a group of workers on their plight and when they had requested for groceries, the same was provided to them.

“We are identifying such people and will address their issues,” said an official.

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Printable version | Jun 7, 2020 8:10:51 AM |

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