No Food or Shelter: 100 Workers From Jharkhand Stranded in Chennai

100 people live in 25 rooms in the residential block and the rent for a room is Rs 2,000 to 3,000, a worker said. 

Published30 Mar 2020, 05:16 PM IST
India
3 min read

Thousands of migrant daily-wage labourers are stuck in different parts of India due to the lockdown imposed by the government in light of the coronavirus pandemic.

The labourers have neither food nor money, and are unable to go home as transport services have been suspended. 100 such workers, from Jharkhand’s Godda district, are stranded in Chennai.

‘Don’t Have Money to Eat, How Can We Pay Rent?’

Ajay hails from Dogachhi village in Jharkhand’s Godda district. He came to Chennai in January. He told The Quint that 100 people live in 25 rooms in his residential block and the rent for a room is Rs 2,000-3,000.

“Now if the total rent for 25 rooms is about Rs 60,000. If there is no work and income has stopped, in this situation, where should we get the money from?” he asked.

No Food or Shelter: 100 Workers From Jharkhand Stranded in Chennai
(Photo: Mohammad Sartaj Alam)

‘Had Sent Money Home, Have Nothing Left Now’

Ajay's 28-year-old colleague Rakesh said that they work Monday through Saturday and get paid for the six days on the weekend.

Ajay explained they’d keep enough money on Saturday and send the rest back home. “The same happened this Saturday. Now we do not have anything, now where to get food from, this is a big question,” he added.

‘Haji Sahab Helped Us’

When asked about the situation at present, Ajay said they’ve received help from businessman Haji Mohammad Amin Jan Ashraf but still have many issues.

“We had worked at the house of the person here who is called Haji saheb a few days back. When they got to know, they brought ration to us. Then we all had food. Haji saheb delivered 25 kg of rice, 20 kg of flour, 10 litres of oil and 8 kg of moong masoor (sic)” he said.

“But now we have two problems. How do we arrange for meals for 100 people? Secondly, in the rooms where we are staying now, the landlord will evict us if the rent isn’t paid (sic).”
Ajay
No Food or Shelter: 100 Workers From Jharkhand Stranded in Chennai
(Photo: Mohammad Sartaj Alam)

Speaking to The Quint, Haji Mohammad said, “We are not Allah. After getting the news yesterday, somehow we got these people ration. People are making more arrangements.”

The labourers’ accomodation.
The labourers’ accomodation.
(Photo: Mohammad Sartaj Alam)

Kin Worried, Request Local MLA’s Help

The labourers’ families are worried. They hope Godda’s local MLA Deepika Pandey will help them return home as soon as is possible. Additionally, they’re confident the Hemant Soren-led government will work to ensure the workers well-being.

Pandey told The Quint that her first priority is to provide food to the people. When asked about the accommodation, she said the way the state government is helping the labourers in Delhi with the help of CM Kejriwal, they will work together with the Tamil Nadu government as well.

(This article was originally published in Hindi. You can read it here.)

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