These individuals are feeding thousands of migrant workers stranded in Kolkata, Bengaluru

Three friends – Debayan Mukherjee, Soumyadeep Mondal, and Debottam Basu – have been distributing ration kits and essentials to the daily wagers who are stranded in Bengaluru and Kolkata, amid the coronavirus pandemic.

For over two months now, we have been a witness to the plight of migrant workers, making an arduous journey on foot across states. While the Indian government has come out with plans to send daily wage earners and labourers back home in buses and trains, it isn’t quite enough.

Following the guidelines of WHO for social distancing and the availability of a limited number of seats, a significant population is still stranded with limited or no access to food and shelter.

Debayan and his team distributed ration kits to the poor

Last week, in Bengaluru over 9,000 migrant workers from the northeastern states and Odisha had grouped at the palace grounds, demanding more transportation to go back home. Not just in Karnataka, but all over India, the story is the same.  

Among the many NGOs and individuals who have risen to the occasion to provide food and shelter to daily wagers, one of them is 30-year-old Debayan Mukherjee.

Backed by his friends Soumyadeep Mondal and Debottam Basu, and through a Facebook campaign called ‘HundrAID’, Debayan, who works as a Senior Cloud Analyst at Accenture in the city, has been helping these people.

"Our basic criteria was that they should not go foodless, whatever they came for they should achieve that, and they should again start continuing their work after the lockdown. For that, they have to be alive. So, our basic concern was that they at least have to have food," Debayan Mukherjee told The Logical Indian.

While Debottam and Soumyadeep provide the backend support from Kolkata and also help distribute rations, Debayan distributes the same to localities in Bengaluru with the help of the local police.

The campaign asks a minimum of Rs 100 from anyone who wishes to contribute in lieu of food for the daily wagers. To date, Debayan and his team of 10, have collected close to Rs 3.8 lakh, and have supported nearly 3,500 workers in Bengaluru, along with those in Murshidabad and Kolkata in West Bengal. 

Each ration packet distributed costs about Rs 500 and contains two kilos rice, one-kilo sugar, two litres oil, one-kilo dal, two soaps, brush, toothpaste, 250 gms tea, one-kilo onions, and 10 packs of biscuits, that should ideally last a week.

“We need people to let us know if they know anyone who is in need and we can help. We urge everyone to spread the word. This will help us collect more funds. We are not an NGO — just a group of friends trying to help those who need it the most at this time of crisis,” Debottam Basu told The New Indian Express.

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Edited by Suman Singh


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