Pained by the plight of the migrant workers across the country, especially after 16 of them were cut to death in Aurangabad by a goods train as they slept on the railway tracks, Bihar Navnirman Yuva Abhiyan had demanded 50 trains from Union Railway Ministry. The NGO in Mumbai has offered to pay for the rail fares of all the Bihari migrant workers going home from Mumbai.Also Read - Mumbai Local Train Services to be Disrupted Due to Mega Block Today, Check Routes to Avoid
Working for the welfare of Biharis, the NGO has written to Union railway minister Piyush Goyal regarding the same. In an interview with a leading news agency, Abhiyan’s organiser Tanveer Alam said, “We will dig into the pockets of Bihari entrepreneurs and businessmen. We will also do crowd funding and try to send at least 50,000 workers on 50 trains to their homes.” Also Read - Mumbai Sees 28% Decline in New COVID Cases; Positivity Rate Drops to 7%
Dharavi, Asia’s largest slum and a corona hotspot plays host to a huge number of migrant workers who are stuck there amid the pandemic. Having lost their jobs and their little savings dried up in these last couple of weeks of nationwide lockdown, Alam suggested that will be better if they are sent to their villages. Also Read - Fire At Mumbai High-Rise: Rescue Operation Underway, PM Modi Announces Compensation | Key Points
Not just Dharavi but migrant workers living in other congested slums too pose a problem of social distancing since crammed into 10×10 often windowless, stuffy rooms, most residents see sunlight only when they come out of their tiny tenements and into the rat-infested streets. From 7 or 8 people sleeping, cooking, coughing, laughing and many of them even smoking together to answering the call of nature by standing in a queue outside a couple of toilets at the end of the lane, the slum dwellers are the hardest hit in the bleak of the pandemic.
In an interview with TOI, Mohammed Fareed, a resident of Darbhanga who used to work at a bag making unit in Ghtkopar shared, “I submitted a form in Ghtkopar police station last week but have not received any message yet. I don’t know when will I be allowed to board the train. I don’t have money and have survived on charity or some money I borrowed from friends so far. It is difficult to survive here now.”
Alam too asserted the same. He told the daily, “Thousands in slums use a single toilet. The small rooms they live in are crammed and there is little chance of maintaining social distancing. Above all, they don’t have money and their survival in the city is difficult.”