Migrant Labourers Fly Home, Thanks To Good Samaritans
A farmer in Delhi and a group of former law students in Bengaluru help desperate migrants fly home
For 10 migrant labourers at a mushroom farm in Delhi, it's a journey they will remember all their lives—all thanks to their employer Pappan Singh Gahlot. Moved by the heart-rending plight of migrants travelling on foot, buses and trains, Gahlot decided that sending his employees by air would be the safest option.
Since his employees couldn't afford air travel, Gahlot, a mushroom farmer in Delhi's Tigipur village, booked the tickets to Patna. All of them left Delhi early in the morning on Thursday.
Gahlot not only spent ₹68,000 to buy the flight tickets, he also gave them the money to reach their villages in Samastipur district, almost 100 kilometres from the Patna airport. Furthermore, the 10 migrant labourers had to undergo medical tests before they could board the flight, the expenses of which were also borne by Gahlot.
Two of his employees, Naveen and Praveen were reportedly excited at the prospect of travelling by air, although this was necessitated due to the lockdown.
Gahlot says that all his employees have promised to come back to work in his farm once the situation improves. That is one way these people can repay their gratitude to their employer.
Former students to the rescue
A group of former students of the National Law School of India University, Bangalore (NLSIU), recently came together to raise around ₹12 lakh in a matter of hours to fly nearly 180 migrant labourers from Mumbai to Ranchi. The students also leased an Air Asia chartered plane to fly the migrants who were stranded in the city due to the lockdown and couldn't return to their native places.
They took the help of NGOs and a corporate house to choose the migrants from a database and booked the chartered plane. According to news reports, the initial plan was to send the migrants through different commercial planes, but that did not happen as the Maharashtra government had limited the number of flights leaving Mumbai. A flight on which a few of the labourers were supposed to leave was cancelled as a result. They also coordinated with various government departments including those in the Jharkhand government so they followed all the necessary Standard Operating Procedures for travelling from one state to the other.
The activists behind this initiative have said that they chose migrants from Mumbai as it was the most coronavirus-afflicted place in the country. They also felt that life in the city had become very difficult for these people left without any means of livelihood.
There were many happy faces at the Mumbai airport as the plane finally took off to Ranchi on Thursday morning with 177 migrants on board.
Source: New Indian Express