Daily-wage labourers have been the worst hit due to the 21-day lockdown imposed by the government to curb the spread of the coronavirus. Several migrants were reportedly travelling on foot to return to their homes but were stopped by police officials. Homeless and robbed of their daily income, thousands of people have turned to the government for help.
Coming to their aid, the Maharashtra government has decided to turn civic schools and marriage halls into shelters for the homeless and migrant labourers living in Mumbai, according to a report by The Indian Express.
Mumbai’s homeless population is an estimated 2 lakhs. Mumbai also has the most number of COVID-19+ cases till now in the country.
Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray pointed out how civic schools and marriage halls are “readymade solutions” as they have water supply and rooms. Officials have been instructed to acquire these spaces and turn them into shelters.
So far, 9 schools have been acquired and 3,200 migrant labourers have been identified.
The Maharashtra government also announced that regular health screening of the sheltered migrants will also take place because many have hypertension, coronary heart problems, lung infections, and other underlying medical conditions.
Maharashtra CM has also asked the BMC and the State Food and Civil Supplies Department to provide the homeless with cooked food, ration, water, and basic essentials.
“We can’t let them travel to their states due to restrictions. It was decided to secure their food, water, and accommodation requirements until they are lifted,” said a senior bureaucrat.
What a great initiative by the Maharashtra government! At such uncertain times, they have set an example by standing as a ray of hope for a large section of the society.