'Endless journeys of migrants are the worst visuals of the pandemic,' says Sonu Sood, who is personally organising buses for the labourers.
While some B-Town stars have made contributions to the PM Cares Fund, donated masks and sanitisers, Sonu Sood has gone ahead and arranged buses for the migrant labourers who have been yearning to return to their hometowns during the lockdown. A couple of days ago ten buses with labourers left for Karnataka and now he is seeking permission from the Uttar Pradesh government for the same. Here he tells us what prompted him to take the initiative and the challenges he is facing..
Many of your industry colleagues have been donating money, masks and sanitisers to those in need. How did you think of organising buses for migrant labourers?
I felt migrants walking down the highways with their kids... their endless journeys are the worst visuals during this pandemic. Someone had to send a message across that we need to come forward to help these people who actually built our homes, who help us survive in every city, in every state. I thought I will get permission from all goverments, and try and send the labourers to their native places. There's nothing better than reuniting them with their families. I spoke to Maharashtra government officials and Karnataka government officials. We sought permission from Karnataka and people could go. Now, I am speaking to Uttar Pradesh government, once I get permission will send buses in a day or two. I will also speak to Bihar and Jharkhand governments.
How challenging has the entire process been?
It's been challenging -- speaking to government officials, transport guys, getting certificates for labourers, medicals, etc. It's a huge task -- the kind of calls and messages that we get. It is tough to put all these things together and we are doing it to the best of our ability.
Besides arranging buses you have donated PPE kits and organised food for the underprivileged in Bhiwandi during Ramzan. What motivates you?
Everyone (labourers) needs food, help and guidance reaching homes. Para medical staff need PPE kits. It's endless. Everyone has to come forward and do their bit. People in Punjab, especially, spoke to me saying they needed PPE kits, so I sent one-and-a-half thousand kits. I get a lot of emails, messages with their numbers on social media. I have a team who connects with them, I also speak personally to them.
Ramzan is important to Muslims and they were worried how they will get food so I arranged for some of them.
As to what motivates me, I feel that the whole scenario needs people to do their bit and not complain about lockdown. Now, we have all the time in the world. We need to spend at least half a day or a few hours and try to help someone who is waiting for a call.
How are you spending time in the lockdown?
When lockdown began, I used to do a little bit of exercise and play table tennis in the room. But since the migrant movement began, I hardly get any time as from morning to evening I am speaking to various people for permissions. That's the top priority for me.
You are a fitness enthusiast, can you share some tips on it?
I love fitness, but in today's time when you don't have access to gym I would say eat right and work out with whatever little you have at home. Do push-ups, sit- ups, crunches, and Yoga. Take proper rest and stay fit.