Sunday, December 3, 2023

‘I tried to go out because of hunger, No other reason’, says Bihar daily wager

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Daily wagers are some of the worst-hit by the shutdowns enforced by pandemic controlling lockdown in the country. Photo: Shaheen Abdulla

Abdulla Amir, a daily wage worker in Bihar’s Araria has not earned a rupee in last week as the country battles coronavirus, forcing a nationwide lockdown.

“My family is struggling to survive. My neighbors also need to be taken care of as well. No one is helping us,” Amir told Maktoob.

“I tried to go out because of hunger, I have no other reason,” he added.

“Policemen are not allowing me to find dal and roti for my wife and two children and the government is not providing food,” twenty-nine-year-old construction worker told Maktoob.

The construction industry employed more than 44 million people in India.

Migrant laborers and daily wagers are some of the worst-hit by the shutdowns enforced by pandemic controlling lockdown in the country.

“We are stuck,” Araria resident Anupam fears of food shortage in her home where she and her single child is living.

Anupam’s husband Ravi, a daily wager who works in a saloon in Kolkata has not earned these days as the country faces a complete lockdown.

“I have no idea. I want to go home but how?” Ravi asks.

“I hope, everything will be fine. I have told my friends in hometown to look after my wife and child,” Ravi who works in Kolkata since his fifteen told Maktoob over the phone.

More than fifty thousand daily wage workers and migrant laborers across the country traveled all through on foot and by other means of transport to reach their shelters, immediately after Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a 21-day lockdown as a precautionary measure against the spread of coronavirus.

Photographs and videos of migrant workers and daily wagers walking hundreds of kilometers or crammed in mini trucks and lorries show how the BJP ruling government ignored their plight.

Some states, such as Delhi, Punjab, Rajasthan, and Kerala have announced free community kitchens for the daily wagers and migrant laborers.

They have announced relief packages, payment of wages, and food provisions.

In her letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi dated March 23, Congress chief  Sonia Gandhi has urged to roll out emergency welfare measures for construction workers and those in the unorganized sector due to the ongoing lockdown.

On Thursday the finance minister announced a Rs 1,70,000 crore relief package for the poor and daily wagers. 

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Aslah Kayyalakkath
Aslah Kayyalakkath
Aslah Kayyalakkath is a Founding Editor of Maktoob. He tweets @aslahtweets


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