Coronavirus in Maharashtra: Migrants struggle to make ends meet amid lockdown

Migrants not only from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar but also from other parts of Maharashtra had to go through a lot of pain during the lockdown. Many of them who stayed back in the city are now struggling to meet their daily needs. Some of them are cursing their decision on staying back in the city while others were leaving the city even though it meant walking back to their hometown.

Puja Pawar, 26, a native of Nanded cursed herself for staying back in the city despite there being a relaxation amid the lockdown. She was a maid, and her husband, Krishna Pawar, 28, was working at a construction site in Ulwe as a daily wage labourer. However, after the lockdown was imposed, both of them became unemployed and their earnings stopped.

Initially, the contractor provided them with food. However, he stopped providing food to them as he himself did not come to the site after the lockdown was extended.

“We were completely dependent on the locals and some social organizations who provided us with food,” said Krishna. He added that he has three children and sometimes the food given to them was not adequate for the family of five members.

The family stayed back in the city as there was no job in their native village. “Initially, the government started trains for other states and there was no transportation within the state,” said Krishna. He added that many of his villagers walked all the way back to their native village. However, they stayed back in the city.

Puja says they moved to Kalamboli to a relative place in search of job. But, as everything is closed, she did not get a job there too. Meanwhile, a local volunteer group came to know about their plight, and provided them with grocery and other items. Deepak Singh from the Robin Hood Army said that there are workers who stayed in the city and now they are facing problems to get foods. “Most of the NGOs and community kitchen closed after majority of the migrants left the city. However, those who are still in the city are jobless and no money to buy food,” said Singh. He added that he provided grocery and shared his contact number if they need more support.

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