Centre for Advocacy and Research (CFAR) received information on 15th April regarding a group of 8 migrant labourers from Jharkhand who were stuck at Chandragiri village in Ananthapur district due to the lockdown and needed immediate help as they were running short of food supplies.
All of these are daily wage labourers working and living near KIA Motors manufacturing plant, situated 80 km away from Ananthapur city. The CFAR team got in touch over phone with Manish Kumar, one of the group members.
Upon reaching the village, CFAR team found that the workers had received minimal support from the villagers (some rice) that, too, was stopped. The CFAR team approached and started coordinating with local NGOs, Revenue Department, DRDA officials and local civil societies to mobilize food grains and ensure the migrants got shelter, food and heath support.
After many attempts, one local NGO, Timbaktu Collective came forward to support the migrants. On 17th April an associate of the NGO Mr. Manikandan spoke to the workers and on the same day the NGO arranged dry ration, rice, wheat flour, dal, cooking oil, and vegetables for a week. Key person of the NGO Ms. Duhita and staff member Mr. Manikandan assured that they would send provisions to these migrant workers regularly till the end of lockdown.
On the other hand, CFAR also approached the local village Revenue Officer Ms. Sreedevi and apprised her of the condition of the labourers. She said that she had been working on arranging dry ration supplies to the migrant workers from different States who were stranded Ananthapur and they had helped 30 – 40 members in each village but she was not aware of these migrant labourers in Chandragiri village.
She said that most of these migrants are permanent labourers with KIA Motors and it should be the company’s responsibility to supply dry ration to them. CFAR team managed to convince her that these workers could not be cannot be denied the basic needs just because KIA motors was not supporting them. Ms. Sreedevi visited the village, interacted with the workers, and found that none of them had any ration card and, hence, it was not possible to provide ration to them from Public Distribution System. However, she and her team mobilized resources from the local villages, who arranged for dry ration and vegetables and with the support of the local police which was distributed to the labourers. Ms. Sreedevi assured that she would continue the support and also follow up with their needs from time to time.
After three days of continuous efforts by the CFAR team, Mr. Parthasarathi, Head, Farm Products Association responded to the situation and agreed to provide vegetables to the migrants. Timbaktu Collective and Rural Development Trust gave them dry ration kits.
Manish Kumar, “We came to this village in Ananthapur from Jharkhand, to earn a living. This is the only source of earning and our families are dependent on us. This pandemic and lockdown have drowned all our hopes and earnings. We are left with nothing, and from past few days we have been waiting for help and food. No one has come forward to help us. We have No work, No money, No Food. Now, we have received some sort of help and support from both the VRO, Timbaktu Collective and Rural Development Trust through the intervention of the NGO in Ananthapur. We are glad and confident that our needs are taken care till we start working again. We are not sure when would that happen, but we have a little hope now that the situation will be better soon.”
Reaching Out to Key Populations with Relief
On 21 April, Shamshad, frontline leader from the FSW community approached CFAR for help to two PLHIV who are in immediate of food and medicines.
CFAR team has linked both of them with the local donors and both of them are receiving dry ration and some monetary support for emergency needs such as medicines which is sufficient for a week or ten days. These two cases will be followed up by the team.
Shamshad, will also provide dry ration and some money to Durgamma to buy medicines.