Hundreds of migrant workers and their families from Karnataka staged an in definite hunger strike, demanding to know when they will be sent back to their state. They are presently be located in temporary arranges made in Vashi’s Cidco Exhibition Centre from the past 45 days. They were told to vacate the shelter as it was to be converted into a Covid Care Centre. Amid of lock down it is very difficult to move from one place to another, without having any resources to sustain. They are asking state government to send them back homes and staged an impromptu hunger strike demanding to know when they will be sent back home. Nearly 30 workers from UP are also worried as to when they will be taken to their state. However, this smaller group of workers did not participate in the hunger strike with Karnataka migrants.
One of the migrants told Afternoon voice “We have refused to eat our meal today, if the government officials do not give us a proper reply as to when they will take us back to our villages in Karnataka.”
Another migrant Karnesh told Afternoon Voice “In a hope of returning home we were staying here, now some of the government officials have communicated to us stating we will be shifted out of the Cidco Exhibition Centre and taken somewhere to Mankhurd, since they are making a Covid-19 hospital here. This is very biased, because we were hoping that the government will take us in buses or trains to Karnataka”. He and his wife working at a construction site in Mulund. But after lockdown they were brought here by police.
InfoTech magnate and managing director of an internet broadband, Bhupesh Gupta, supplying food to these migrant workers at the Cidco Exhibition Centre. These hundreds of migrants are provided with food every day at this Vashi makeshift shelter, of which a majority are from Karnataka. They are naturally worried about their uncertain future as this site will soon be converted into a hospital; while they still do not know when or how they will go back home.
Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation, A B Misal, told Afternoon Voice “Making Covid Care Centre at the Cidco Exhibition Centre is already planned, but at the same time we have requested the local police to take these migrant workers to their respective native place, and this is the due process.” I am not aware of the development that they would be shifted to Mankhurd”.
The medical equipment that is to be used for making a Covid Care Centre has already been placed in Vashi’s Cidco Exhibition Centre.
I will also request the Maharashtra chief minister to pay some heed to their plight as they have been kept at Vashi since the start of the lock-down “These poor migrants were kept at the Vashi shelter with the promise that they will soon be taken to their states. However, as the lock-down has got extended twice, the workers are feeling betrayed”, Activist Anarjit Chauhan stated.