Depleting Ration Stock Worry Migrants

City COVID-19 Food

Study shows 96 percent of migrant workers do not receive dry rations; 70 percent do not get cooked food.

 Ambalika Banerjee

16 April, 2020

Migrant workers from various parts of the country complain of not receiving a regular supply of food or ration amid this lockdown. Nizamuddin Khan, a migrant worker from Assam was unable to reach his home and has been stuck in the Bellandur slum area of Bengaluru since the beginning of the lockdown.

 Khan was employed in a local hotel as a daily worker in the city. He said, “I have received only dry ration once since the beginning of this lockdown. It had rice, pulse and some oil. I’m about to run out of stock very soon. I don’t know how we will manage till the end of it.”

A study by The Stranded Workers Action Network (SWAN) shows, 96 percent of a sample lockdown hit migrant workers did not receive any dry rations while 70 percent did not get any cooked food. The study included that 3992 workers from Maharashtra, 3000 workers from Karnataka and 1618 workers from Uttar Pradesh are stranded amid this lockdown.

Sri. M Chandappa, Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) councilor of ward no. 151, said, “Cooked food is being served for the migrant workers every day. We are serving them at 11 am and 6 pm daily. Almost 2500 people are being served daily here. Dry ration like rice, pulses, and oil is also being distributed.”

The central government has directed all the state governments to provide food, shelter and basic amenities to the stranded laborer from the unorganized sector. Ministry of Home Affairs had advised states and union territories, through a directive, to make vulnerable groups aware of the measures taken by the government which includes the provision of free food gain and other essential items through public distribution systems (PDS). 

However, the study by SWAN shows most of the workers did not know the location of these distribution systems and feeding centres.  Those who went to these centres had to encounter long queues and often stocks running out.


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