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Job loss and tense future lead to migrant exodus in Mumbai despite government aid | India News


MUMBAI: Shortly after the strict 15-day restrictions were announced, the wooden beam workshop where Munna Yadav worked as a loader was closed. Fortunately, I had already purchased a black train ticket to Kushinagar from UP and managed to board the train at 1am on Wednesday.
“It was difficult to get into the station due to the crowds, but I managed because I had a ticket,” said Yadav, who ended up paying Rs 2,300 to a tout for a Rs 450 ticket.
As a daily gamble, Yadav says that it will be impossible for him to survive in the city without work, despite the state’s aid package. “I don’t have a ration card, so I won’t get free rations. My rent alone is 3,000 rupees a month. How am I going to pay for that? “he asks.
Throughout the day, large crowds of migrants from UP and Bihar packed the Lokmanya Tilak terminal, desperate to return home. Among them were the daily bets who worked in shops, restaurants and markets. Additionally, there were electricians, carpenters, and drivers who found their jobs drying out.
Tempo driver Rajesh Yadav said he made just Rs 600 a week in March. “As Covid cases increased, hardly anyone was hiring the tempo. Now, with the curfew, even fewer people will travel, ”said the man from Gorakhpur.
“I only have 500 rupees left. Who knows if the government will extend the blockade? Yadav said.
Activists working with the poor say the Maharashtra government’s 5,476 million rupee aid package is too small given the enormity of the anguish caused by the strict restrictions. The state government is offering 3 kg of wheat and 2 kg of rice free of charge for one month to those who have ration cards under the National Food Safety Law. The state has 7 million beneficiaries listed.
“A large number of migrants do not have ration cards. Those who have cards in their hometown have a hard time accessing grains in another state despite the portability scheme, ”said Ulka Mahajan from Sarvahara Jan Andolan.
The state relief scheme will also provide two lakh Shiv bhojan thalis free to those in need for one month. “The amount of thalis is too small to have any impact. Two lakh thalis for free will not even be enough for the underprivileged in the Mankhurd area, let alone the entire state, ”said Bilal Khan of Ghar Bachao Ghar Banao Andolan.

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