03, Apr 2020 | CJP Team
Ever since the Covid-19 pandemic forced the entire nation into a lockdown, migrant workers have suffered a sudden loss of livelihood. CJP has been receiving appeals for help from many such families across Mumbai. Teesta Setalvad who leads CJP and is a journalist and human rights worker with several decades of work behind her, has a wide network of worker activists who speak to her and the organisation directly. She was therefore able to respond to needs of various segments of workers promptly. So far, CJP has reached 2,500 families and aims to reach another 2,500 in the coming week.
Mumbai has always been a city where sons of the soil and migrants have lived and worked shoulder to shoulder to make their dreams come true. The cities socio-cultural fabric has been spun with the blood, sweat and toil of people from across India who come here seeking a brighter future. But while white collar migrants have been insulated to a degree by varying degrees of privilege, blue collar migrant workers such as construction workers, loaders, cart-pushers, and the like, have been hit hard by the nationwide lockdown.
CJP is sensitive to their needs and on April 2, in just one day, we managed to deliver rations to over 400 such families of migrant workers in Worli, Wadala, Antop Hill and Ghatkopar.
The nationwide lockdown has adversely impacted the livelihood of daily-wage earners and people in low-income jobs. Families of thela-wallas, taxi and auto rickshaw drivers, vegetable vendors, carpenters, scrap purchasers, delivery boys, waiters, domestic helps, people with HIV/AIDS, transgender persons, sex workers, orphans and destitute people need our urgent help to tide over the COVID crisis. CJP has partnered with several like-minded organisations to provide ration and essential supplies to over 5,000 such families across the Mumbai Metropolitan region. We urge you to donate generously so that nobody goes to bed hungry.
On April 1, the plight of families of 12 migrant workers from Jharkhand was brought to our notice. They were trapped in a containment zone in Worli and could not step out. They are also extremely impoverished, so much so that none of them even has a basic cell phone and they all rely on their contractor for the same. They were on the verge of starvation in the absence of any other assistance and their own meagre supplies were almost gone by the end of March. CJP immediately swung into action and made rations to these workers on April 2, despite supply shortages and transportation hurdles.
We also delivered rations to another set of 45 migrant families from Jharkhand living in Vadala (East). Here the emergency of the situation was heightened by the fact that the list included a 11-year-old child battling cancer and could only eat food specially cooked for him at home. We supplied full rations to these families as well.
CJP also delivered rations to families of 122 migrant workers from Bihar living in Antop Hill. Also, last week the Akhil Maharashtra General Kamgar Union (Ramabai Nagar, Ghatkopar) requested for food ration help for 250 families of mostly migrant construction workers. They hail from Marathwada and Vidharbha and live in Gorai (Bhimnagar). This delivery was also made on April 2. While they were able to arrange for one tempo, CJP organised and paid for the remainder of the transportation costs.
In the following pictures you can see the food being sorted and packed hygenically, and then distributed among the families while following all safety precautions and social distancing protocols:
CJP used its own delivery mechanism with a team with passes and personally delivered these rations. We are also grateful to members of local Shakhas and the Shiv Sena Vahtuk Sena for providing tempos and loaders in locations where organizing transportation is a challenge.