6 Lakh Powerloom Workers In Maharashtra Town Stuck With No Food Or Work Amid Lockdown

As many as 6 lakh workers in Bhiwandi now have neither food nor money as the country shut down amid the spread of the coronavirus pandemic. They are now eagerly waiting for the government's help.

The Centre has promised ration for the poor as they struggle to make ends meet

Mumbai:

The 21-day lockdown across the country has seen many migrant workers attempt to go back to their hometowns but there are some who cannot.

One such example is Bhiwandi, a town around 50 km from Mumbai which is a powerloom hub with around 15-20 lakh looms.

As many as 6 lakh workers in the town now have neither food nor money as the country shut down amid the spread of the coronavirus pandemic. They are now eagerly waiting for the government's help.

Father of four Zakir Ali is from Gorakhpur in Uttar Pradesh. After visiting his hometown, he returned to work just after Holi. Now, he is stuck without work or transport to take him back home.

"I came here, worked for 2 days and now I am stuck. Now, we are making plans of going back to Gorakhpur walking. What can I do? There is no food no work, I can't die hungry," he said.

The 6 lakh employees received a salary of Rs 4000 every 15 days. But the powerlooms have fallen silent from the last many days. With no means of livelihood, these workers say they are on the verge of starvation.

"There is a lockdown till 14th, we will die first of starvation first then of coronavirus," Junaid, a worker, told NDTV.

fmver15c

The powerlooms in Bhiwandi have fallen silent from the last many days

Appa Sultana has six family members including a six-month-old. "We are not getting any ration. We are tired of running around for 3-4 days," she says.

The Centre has promised ration for the poor as they struggle to make ends meet.

"PM Modi is saying poor will get ration. But how will we get?" workers ask.

The closure of powerloom factories is having a ripple effect. The restaurants in the city are also shutting down saying the business is not viable amid the lockdown.

"I don't have money and we get ration now. People also don't have money. Then how will I run the restaurant?" Naser, a restaurant owner Naser asks.

The powerloom business is taking a huge hit. Loom owners say they are suffering losses of Rs 6-7 lakhs and worry about what will happen post the COVID-19 period.

Atif Ansari, a powerloom owner has eight workers to feed, but says he doesn't have the means to provide for them now amid losses.

"When we open this post shut down, we will have to call back our workers but for that we will only have to provide for their journey. Only then we can start the business," Mr Ansari says.

Listen to the latest songs, only on JioSaavn.com