Thousands of daily labourers are trapped across India amid the 21-day lockdown to prevent the spread of coronavirus outbreak in the country. With no money or food to sustain themselves, these migrant workers are unable to get back to their families as states shut borders and transport ceases to operate. 100 such workers of the Godda district of Jharkhand are stranded in Chennai.
‘No Money to Eat, How Do We Pay Rent?’
Ajay hails from Dogchchi village of Malparatpur Panchayat in Godda district. He came to Chennai this January after a two-month break.
He said that 100 people live in 25 rooms in the block where they are currently living. The rent for a room is Rs 2000-3000. The total rent for 25 rooms is about 60,000. “If there is no work, then there is no income, in this situation, where will we get the money to pay rent?” he said.
‘Money Sent Home, Nothing Left to Sustain Ourselves’
Ajay's 28-year-old colleague Rakesh said that they work through Monday to Saturday, and get paid for six days on Saturday.
“We used to keep enough money for ourselves every Saturday and send the rest to their home. The same happened this Saturday. Now we do not have anything, now where to source food from is a problem,” said Ajay.
Businessman Extends Help
The Quint asked them how they were carrying on with work. Ajay said that while they faced trouble, a businessman named Haji Saheb – at whose house they worked a few days back – has been helping them out in the crisis.
“When they got the news, they brought essential items for us. Then we all had food. Haji saheb delivered 25 kg of rice, 20 kg of flour, 10 liters of oil, 8 kg of moong masoor. But now we have two problems. To produce a meal for 100 people. Secondly, the landlord will remove us if we do not pay the rent soon,” said Ajay.
"“Allah is our medium, not us. After getting the news yesterday, somehow we delivered the essentials to these people. But there are many people, so we are making more arrangements.”" - Haji Mohammad Amin Jan Ashraf, Business Owner
Family Concerned, Plead With Local MLA
The people of the workers' families are worried. They hopes that local MLA Deepika Pandey will soon help to bring all the people back home. They are confident that the government of Hemant Soren will take steps to help the workers.
Godda MLA Deepika Pandey told The Quint that their first priority is to provide food to the people. But on being asked about 25-room rental, the MLA said that the way “Hemant ji is helping the labourers of Jharkhand with the help of Kejriwal, he will talk to the Tamil Nadu government and help those trapped in Jharkhand.”
She also reached out to The Quint to seek the phone numbers of the labourers.
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