‘We Can’t & Won’t Tweet for Noodles & Eggs, Instead Will Beg & Wait for Basic Food & Care’- Beggars & Migrants
‘We Can’t & Won’t Tweet for Noodles & Eggs, Instead Will Beg & Wait Patiently for Basic Food & Care’- Beggars & Migrants on our ‘Smart City’ Streets
Mangaluru: Sad but true! Hundreds of migrant workers and labourers, including those people who got stuck in Mangaluru, due to no transportation, and couldn’t move to their hometowns and who were wandering in the City, sadly and unfortunately got picked up by the authorities/police and placed at few hostels/govt schools in the city – and also a bunch of beggars/homeless are facing hardships from the day one the lockdown started- and the situation is getting from BAD to WORSE, with the district administration and Mangaluru City Corporation turning a blind eye towards these helpless masses. While quite a few of these beggars and migrant workers are kept in govt hostels/schools, like “House Arrest”, even though they didn’t commit any crime, but still a majority of them are still wandering or spending their days and nights on streets/pavements/in front of closed businesses etc- a LIFE, which is not fit for a human being, if you look at it that way. I think it is the total negligence of the district administration, MCC and other bodies to put these people in such misery, with no proper food and shelter, during the lockdown.
Few days ago, when a rich medical student staying in a medical college hostel tweeted Prime Minister Modi’s office that she required her favourite food of Maggi Noodles and eggs, which she was not able to get it due to stores closed during lockdown- her wish of getting noodles and eggs was granted by the PMO, through the COVID-19 War Room in Mangaluru, under the leadership of MP Nalin Kumar Kateel, within 30 minutes (Ref MP Kateel Delivers Maggi & Eggs To Medico In 30 Mins, While Poor Have No Food For Hours/Days )
, and here we have these hungry people on the streets, who can’t tweet to PM’s Office looking for Maggi Noodles and eggs, instead of begging and waiting for hours and days to get a decent and nourishing food from the City authorities- other than a bunch of NGO’s and generous people feeding them with lunch and supper.
Meantime, Muneer Katipalla-the State Convener of Democratic Youth Federation of India (DYFI) speaking to media had said, “Over 250 migrants labourers put up in tents close to Thokkur railway track at Baikampady, are living in pitiable conditions. They are running out of essentials, and many infants and women are forced to skip meals, and so far, the rations promised by the govt have also not reached them. The govt had promised that not a single migrant worker or other labourers would sleep hungry, and there are many other labourers stranded in various other places and are running out of food. The War Room set up to help the stranded is also not responding to their calls or queries. The call for physical distancing from govt is lacking in these labourers tents. The govt should provide relief and better facilities if not there is chances of the disease spreading in the community”.
While our netas, and elected representatives have been posing for photos in front of food kits/supplies to be donated to the migrant’s workers/low wage labourers and needy people, which make elaborate stories in print and electronic media- but when is the last time, anyone of us seen our netas, and leaders handing over food for these starving people on our Smart City streets. Bah humbug! Also that the admin is too particular about maintaining guidelines of COVID-19 and following social distancing, but has turned a blind eye towards these folks on streets, who not only are following the guidelines nor social distancing- they are a total scare of spreading Coronavirus/COVID-19 disease. When many NGO’s and Good Samaritans serve lunch and supper at the same time, lot of food is wasted also. Why can’t the admin or MCC provide food for these needy-why depend on NGOs’? Is the admin or MCC aware of it?
Such migration and also of the mass labourers may undermine attempts by the district administration and other departments to prevent the localized spread of the coronavirus, with some workers even attempting to make the journey on foot, due to widespread closures of public transport. But with industries/factories/labor work/etc closed by the government lockdown, many have been left with little choice but to attempt the return journey home. Take the example of Ramesh and his colleagues who were daily wage labourers, working at construction sites, and when the work stopped this week when the lockdown came into effect- they managed to stay here and there for a day, and when they were planning to head home to their native place in Bantwal, they were all picked up and put here in the hostel. Wouldn’t it have better if arrangements were made to drop them in Bantwal, rather than put them in this hostel-which they feel is torture because they have done nothing wrong, and they are not criminals either?
Daily Wage labourer Mahesha Poojary, his wife Sudha, and daughter, Soundarya, hailing from Bellary Dist
There are many such people like Ramesh, who are stranded on the City streets, hailing from Puttur, Sullia, Bagalkot, Bellary, Vijayapura, and other districts of North Karnataka, who are not even certain about their next meal- and they only wished that they would have been happy with their families in their hometown, if the admin had arranged transportation, instead of making them face a miserable life on streets. Among the many migrants stranded on our City streets, Team Mangalorean met a couple, Mahesha Poojary and his wife, Sudha, hailing from Bellary district, who have been spending days and nights in front of a shop, along with their 3-year-old baby girl, Soundarya.
Narrating their horrifying story, Mahesha said, “I have been working here in Mangaluru for the last two months, as a daily wage labourer, in the construction field, and I was happy with the earning, of Rs 400-500 a day. My wife took care of our child. I am also joined by my brother, Yellappa, who is also a labourer. We never thought we would face such a miserable life, once the lockdown clicked in. My contractor wouldn’t answer my call, when I need some money. I am totally broke, and my family depends on Good Samaritans, like you, who feed us lunch and dinner. There has been no help from the city authorities, whatsoever.”.
He further said, “Once the police came to us, and said that they would shift us to a hostel, where we have to be with other migrants. But having a small baby girl, we were reluctant to accept that offer. I can’t even call back home and speak to my family, members and relatives since I am out of the currency on my mobile phone. What a hard life I am facing, and I don’t know why we have been left stranded here. Why can’t the authorities shift us to my hometown so at least I can be with my family members, rather than with strangers. The lockdown has totally ruined my life and my family. I only pray to God, that I may get out of this suffering and lead a normal life, when I was earning. Thank You, for listening to my story, and trying to help me and my family. Also thank you, for providing a sumptuous breakfast this morning, which we missed for days. May God bless everyone in your Team Mangalorean”.
Yet another middle-aged woman, who wanted to remain anonymous and photos not taken, who has been spending days and nights under a auto-rickshaw stand, speaking with tears rolling down her eyes said, “Never in my life I thought I would be sleeping under a auto-stand, just because I got stranded here, due to cancellation of trains. I had come here for medical treatment at Wenlock hospital, and stayed back two more days, not knowing that trains would stop running- and since then I have been living in such harsh condition. Some nights, being a woman, I feel so scared to sleep at night, due to many strange men passing by me- my only strength and security are these three stray dogs, which are always beside me. I have only some amount left with me now, and I want to keep it, for my travel back to Calicut, when the trains resume. I wish and pray, that I would be able to go back to my home soon”- and she burst into more tears.
Like these two people Team Mangalorean met this morning, there could be many more, who are facing such ordeal, and who have no other option, other than be on the streets and face the consequences, now and then with the law enforcement people. We should blame these migrants- This is not the fault of these migrants or labourers- it was due to the sudden lockdown they had to face all these inconveniences, so why the govt and the administration is making them suffer in camps or streets, when they have their homes in the State. Govt and other departments should make provisions to make them reach home, if they are closer to Mangaluru. It’s sad to watch the faces of some of these people who are anxiously waiting to go home- and many of them have already started cursing those who put them here, when they had done nothing wrong. So who is responsible for such a fate of these hard working labourers, who earn for their living, and now they have to face such consequences.
In conclusion, looking at the pathetic condition and situation faced by these migrants and labourers, the district administration, dept of labour and MCC should come out with a better plan, or after doing a thorough screening of all these people lodged, they should be transported to their native places, which are closer to Mangaluru, or in the state. Rumours were that the admin was planning to send some of these migrants home- but it does not look like its happening. And also waiting to send them back home once the lockdown is lifted- That is a long way to go! The admin should think of the women and children, not to forget the men too, and relieve all of them from the agony they are all facing now. PLEASE DON’T ALLOW THEM TO SUFFER MORE, Thank You!