Moved by the plight of migrant workers stranded in the national capital due to the coronavirus-imposed lockdown, a group of youngsters rallied together to raise a total of Rs 2.5 lakh rupees to send 400 of such migrants to their homes.
Speaking to ANI, Ramandeep Kaur, part of the group said that they were moved by the misery of the labourers who were desperate to get back home but did not have enough money to buy train or bus tickets.
“We watched media reports of people who did not have the money to go home. Except for Shramik trains, other rail journeys are not free. Gargi, Manish, Shalu and I decided to do something about it. On June 2, we met around 18 people from different states who were struck in Delhi. We calculated that it would take Rs 23,000 to provide for their journeys. We send out appeals inside our friends circle on WhatsApp and Instagram,” she said.
The group managed to raise around Rs 12,000 in less than 10 hours on the first day and used that money to book six tickets.
“In less than 10 hours, we raised around Rs 12,000. Next day we booked six tickets. for them. We have raised around Rs 2.50 lakh and send over 400 through trains and buses,” Ramandeep said.
However, they are now facing a shortage of funds as several others have reached out to them for help.
“We have run out of our funds. We have only Rs 20,000- Rs 30,000 left with us. We have more than 250 people who want to go home. We are hopeful that we will manage to raise enough money for the rest of them too,” Ramandeep said.
Another group member Gargi Chauhan said they were inspired by actor Sonu Sood who has sent hundreds of migrants back to their home amid lockdown.
“We can’t see them being so helpless they don’t have money to eat. After booking six tickets on the first day, we realised we need to take it to a larger level. We were waiting for someone to take the initiative. But the government did not come forward. Everybody was busy doing politics. Then we saw Sonu Sood. He did something that made the government think. He has sent so many people back to their home,” she said.
The group was also approached by some NGOs which helped them to arrange buses and food for migrant workers.
“Some NGOs contacted us, they arranged buses and food. They are also providing them food for journey and masks,” Ramandeep said.
“We criticise governments for everything but it is not going to help. We have to step up. People have donated even Rs 25,” she said.
Ramandeep and Gargi handle onground logistics, while Shalu and Manish set to raise funds.
Gargi said she is planning to expand their group and want to help as many people as they can.
“As soon as we stop getting calls, we will stop our work. Till then we will continue,” she said.
Both Ramandeep and Gargi did not tell their parents about their initiative in the beginning. Ramandeep’s father was unaware of her activities but she said her mother was supportive.
“My mother was supportive. At first, we wanted to donate to an NGO which is helping these migrants. But they did not respond. Then I told my mother that we should start this. My father did not know about this,” Ramandeep said.
Mokhtar, from West Bengal’s Malda is among the 400 people who managed to get back home. He used to work at a school in Noida but lost his job due to lockdown that compelled him to go back home.
“I was stranded in Noida. I used to work at a school there and I lost my job. I thank them for helping us,” he said.
Ramkumar, who used to work for a construction site in Delhi’s Safdarjung reached his home in Bihar’s Katihar last week with the help of this group. He had been working in the national capital for eight months.
(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)