With neither food nor money due to the ongoing lockdown to contain the spread of the coronavirus, thousands of powerloom unit workers are making an exodus from Bhiwandi, the powerloom hub to their hometown by either truck, tempo or auto rickshaws.
Several migrant workers from Kalyan, Ulhasnagar, Ambernath, Thane, Bhiwandi gather at the Bhiwandi bypass daily in the hope of getting a truck or any other vehicle to their hometowns.
Reportedly, many workers from the powerloom units, small shops, auto drivers, daily wage earners and other industrial workers are leaving Bhiwandi on their own, as the state government has been unable to make proper arrangements for them so far.
Bhiwandi is known for its powerloom industry but amid the Covid-19 pandemic, these and the dyeing units have completely shut down. More than 50 days have passed and the migrants' patience has run out, as they have neither have money nor jobs.
Bhawarlal Chaudhary who is a powerloom owner from Bhiwandi said, "85 percent of my workers have left for their hometown. The supply chain of the yarn business has come to a halt amid the nationwide lockdown. We have demanded the government to give some attention to the powerloom industries and announce some relief package."
Khushiram Saroj, a powerloom worker said, "Due to Covid-19, the company has shut down in my area. Several labourers from my company and other companies have left for their home town. There are 15 others who also want to go back to Faizabad, Uttar Pradesh."
"The owner of our powerloom unit wanted us go back home as he did not have the capacity to bear our daily expenses anymore. However, he has promised us that he will call us back once the situation improves," said Farooque Shaikh, a powerloom worker