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Sans ration card, guest workers get no financial help from govts

Migrant labourers staying back in Tamil Nadu are waiting for the lockdown to be lifted as it has incurred them huge financial difficulties. Migrants who have been staying in Tamil Nadu for more than five years do not have a ration card in either of the States and are surviving on credit amount from others.

Sans ration card, guest workers get no financial help from govts


Phoolchand Paswan (40) from Gorakhpur in Uttar Pradesh has been working in Kolathur for about 12 years. His family of three kids and wife stays in a rented house and his children study in a Tamil medium government school near his home. Phoolchand has a small cart shop of snacks and could save about Rs 600 to Rs 1,000 from his sales every day. However, the lockdown has left him a loan of more than 25,000 as there was no sale for the past two months.

“I have not paid rent for the past three months and have been managing my daily expenses after asking for loans from my relatives. I cannot go home because my children study here and once the school reopens, it will be difficult to bring them back. As we left Uttar Pradesh about 12 years ago, we don’t have a ration card there and we did not have the provision to get a new one made in Tamil Nadu because of nativity issues. Thus, we do not get help from any of the governments,” said Phoolchand.

While a large number of the migrant workers who have been working in different sectors of employment for as long as 10 to 15 years chose to return to their respective hometowns as the COVID-19 pandemic hit the State severely, many others who stayed back in the State are waiting to restart their work. Though State government is taking initiatives to ensure that migrant workers reach home in the coming days, the ones staying back in Tamil Nadu are not able to avail ration or any monetary fund as they do not have ration cards within the State.

Another migrant worker from Bihar, Lalu Sharma, is a carpenter and has been working in Manapakkam for more than 6 years now. Lalu and his younger brother are getting financial help from his supervisors here because he has not been paid for more than two months now.

“We saw the pathetic condition of the migrants who went back home. We cannot afford to go back home because my family in Bihar survives on the money I send them. We have not restarted our work due to lockdown as we cannot travel and the orders have also reduced. Though central and State governments have been claiming to give us financial aid, we won’t be benefitted because neither of the governments gave us ration cards,” said Lalu.

Ranjith Kumar from Darbhanga in Bihar said that he is waiting for Bihar government’s aid after he registered on the specific website.

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