The COVID-19 lockdown has brought about severe existential crisis on the laborers and the daily wage workers. Owing to that most of the laborers have now started migrating back to their respective native villages. The unavailability of resources for traveling back led to confusion, fear among the workers and stifling of laborers at the public places like highways, toll plazas. On seeing the throttled condition of laborers, certain resilient citizens of the nation owned up the responsibility of reaching out to them.
The Swayamsevaks of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) having owned up this fierce task are working unabatedly to ensure that the laborers and daily workers are provided with necessary food and medicinal items. Continuing on the same front, RSS Swayamsevaks from Nagpur are now serving food items, medical supplies, footwear and almost every other item available in the market.
Thousands of migrant laborers are currently walking hundreds of kilometers to reach their respective native places and in the process many have arrived at NBP Toll Plaza Outer Ring Road, Panjari (Nagpur) in Maharashtra. The laborers are from the states of Uttarpradesh, Westbengal, Telangana, etc and they have a long never-ending journey yet to travel along the Jabalpur Highway. In the searing heat of 40-degree Celsius, many laborers were walking empty stomach, many were bare-footed while some were on the verge of collapsing due to the blistering humidity. To address the emergency-like situation, several non-profitable organizations and social workers are now serving the laborers and the daily wage workers relentlessly. The Seva activity was initiated in the last week of March by Oriental Toll’s Manager, Mr. Pathak who arranged tea for the strangled workers. On receiving the information about the dire situation, Khapri Nagar Karyawah (secretariat) of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and Dr. Taneshwar Gautam from Vivekananda Medical Mission started the work through the Swyaymsevaks from Khapri and initially arranged tea and water. After that, breakfast was also arranged through the Swayamsevaks. Apart from this, Mahayuth and some other non-profitable organizations are also providing various services at the toll plaza.
Through the medium of RSS, Migrant workers now have access to drinking water, mobile toilets, meals, accommodation, medicine and medical check-ups. In this long list, services like bus to states like Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh, passenger lists for traveling by train were also provided.
In a new inconceivable feat, the RSS’s swayamsevaks were instrumental in distributing new footwear to the workers who were walking without footwear in the scorching sun. Upon arrival at the premises, a team of 8 Swayamsevak would collect the complete information of the person in a form that includes personal information and destination information. On the collection of information, bus arrangements through other non-profitable organizations and the rail Seva through Indian Railways were made available.
In this area, different organizations in associations with Doctors are independently serving the laborers. Organizations and medical associations like Swami Vivekananda Medical Mission, Sure Tech Hospital, All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), National Cancer Institute (NCI), Medical experts affiliated to IMA, Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR), Sevankur, etc are coordinating efficiently for the proper service of the laborers. First of all, this team conducts a medical examination of the incoming persons. Some of them are taken to a separate room if they need immediate treatment. If any symptoms related to COVID-19 are found, they are kept separate and the concerned authorities are informed.
A team of RSS Swayamsevaks is compiling a list of passengers traveling by train. In this work, Swayamsevaks have set up their own personal laptops and the list is handed over to the Police Commissioner’s Office, Nagpur and the Railway officials. The work is aimed at speeding up the Government’s work and keeping records of migrant workers traveling by train from Nagpur.
The kits required by the women are also being distributed here through the Rashtra Sevika Samiti. Similarly, homeopathic medicines for protection from the sun are also being distributed through the Samiti. In addition, chocolates were also distributed to the children of the laborers.
Swayamsevaks are making significant contributions to the social organization’s involvement in the Food distribution system and are helping in Cooking preparations, which includes chopping vegetables and other activities and then distributing food. Through Sangh Swayamsevaks, large scale provision of food grains, provision of drinking water, etc. is being carried out continuously. Additionally, to contribute to this work, 200 kg of rice and 100 kg of potatoes were collected through various ‘Bal-Shakhas‘ and delivered to the Food distribution system of migrant laborers. This activity is a great example of how RSS works in the coordination of the other social organizations in the society.
‘Arogyavardha Kadha‘ is distributed to the Sangh Swayamsevaks and other social workers every afternoon to boost immunity and maintain their physical health.
Different kinds of services meant a large number of leftovers hence the Swayamsewaks have taken up the challenge of maintaining cleanliness in the area. On Thursday, May 7, the fences and drains in the area were choked and the stench started due to the dirt, creating a dangerous situation for everyone’s health. Without waiting for the Government functionaries, the Swayamsevaks brought tools like shovel, spade and other necessary items to clean the drains. ‘The readiness of doing anything’ is a recommendable attribute of the Swayamsevaks.
Swayamsevaks are also providing valuable guidance to increase the inner strength of the traveling individuals and families. They have also accepted the challenge of telling everyone to maintain social distancing in the midst of a thousand workers. The work is being carried out in three shifts and Swayamsevaks from the Khapri area are working day and night for the utmost care of laborers and workers. In total, 30 to 40 Swayamsevaks are working tirelessly for the special attention of migrant workers and laborers.
The fiery heat and humid conditions would’ve affected the Swayamsevaks and the other selfless volunteers of different organizations. However, without bothering much about the external factors, RSS’s selfless Seva activity has reached around such an innumerable number of laborers, migrant workers, and the daily wage workers. In the Pandemic times when the entire nation in whatever possible way helps and stands with the migrants, RSS Swayamsevaks with their will and all strength are at the forefront of serving the laborer.