Coronavirus lockdown | Congress LS leader reaches out to migrant workers from Murshidabad

Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury. | File

Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury. | File   | Photo Credit: PTI

He gets support from BJP, Shiv Sena leaders, Kanimozhi

As the Lok Sabha member from Baharampur in West Bengal’s Murshidabad district a district that sends one of the highest number of migrant workers across the country Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury’s personal phone has rarely stopped ringing in the past 10 days.


The Congress’s Lok Sabha leader’s personal mobile phone number is now a temporary helpline network that he has been forced to set up to aid migrant workers from Murshidabad, mostly Muslims who are engaged in the construction sector.


Mr. Chowdhury’s office in Delhi said though migrant workers from Murshidabad were spread across the country, they were present in large numbers in South Indian States of Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka as well as Maharashtra in the western part.

“From Kerala to Tamil Nadu, Punjab to Haryana, we have lakhs of migrant workers from my district of Murshidabad who work on real estate projects. They mostly get weekly payments but the lockdown has created a sense of panic among them,” Mr. Chowdhury told The Hindu.

Since the March 25 national lockdown, politicians cutting across party lines are trying different methods to provide relief to the workers and give them assurance in a language they easily relate to.

Tharoor’s initiative

For example, Congress MP Shashi Tharoor, who speaks fluent Bengali because of his schooling in Kolkata, released a video in Bangla, asking migrant workers in Kerala to stay where they are as the State government is providing for their food.

The lockdown has also given an opportunity to deepen personal bonds and friendship even among political rivals.

For example, over the past 10 days, Mr. Chowdhury has got help from Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, BJP leaders and Union Ministers Pralhad Joshi and Sadanand Gowda, Assam BJP leader and Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, DMK’s Kanimozhi and Shiv Sena’s Vinayak Raut.

“From taking help from our MPs in Kerala to talking to Congress chiefs in places like Delhi to BJP leaders, I am thankful that they have all helped to ensure that the poor don’t go hungry,” Mr. Chowdhury said, adding that the situation was only marginally better after 10 days of lockdown.

“Poor people are now worried if the lockdown will be extended and what will happen. None of us can help as we don’t know. Prime Minister [Narendra Modi] should have called an all-party meeting and taken the leaders into confidence. After all, we all want our fellow citizens to be healthy,” he added.

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Printable version | May 26, 2020 12:26:19 AM |

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