Amid the coronovirus crisis, migrant workers had migrated from Mumbai on a large scale. Around 90 percent of migrant laborers live in Bhayyawadi in Juhu Koliwada, Mumbai. About 80 percent of the residents migrated from here in May due to the lockdown. After which this place was filled with empty streets and terrible silence. But the movement has returned here for the last one and a half months. However, life has not been normal for the migrants here.
Pankaj, who hails from Bihar, reached his village in a lockdown by riding on a truck. He used to work as a cook in Mumbai and earned around Rs 17,000 a month. However, the floods in Bihar were a double whammy for him due to which his house was washed away along with his farm. He returned to Mumbai and is now forced to work. Says Pankaj, "My boss refused to give me work due to coronavirus. Even the salary was less. So now I am doing wages."
Also read: One crore migrant workers returned to their state during coronavirus-lockdown: Central government
Many people like Pankaj have a similar story to tell. Kailash Mandal, a resident of Darbhanga in Bihar, is struggling to run home. He is the sole earner for a family of five. While working as a driver, he used to earn Rs 18,000 a month, but now he says that the work has reduced by almost half, which means that his earnings have also come down by half.
Mandal said, "I think of doing something in my village. But what can I do there? The system is not good. So I had to come back. Yes, I am afraid of coronovirus, but now I have to struggle for money is."
Laborer Krishna says that staying in his village for a long time was not an option due to the economic situation. And he came back too. He told, "I could not live in the village. There is no work and even if we get work, the salary is very low. Here at least I earn 600-700 rupees per day. But the salary in the village is only ₹ 200. "With people coming back, finding employment opportunities is a big job for them.
Amit Singh, a social worker who works with migrants and distributes food and ration daily, says people have started coming back in the last two months in the hope of getting work. "Around 35-40% of the people are back, but they are struggling for work," says Singh.