The NALSAR alumni have also been arranging buses for migrants in other parts of India.

NALSAR migrant workers fly migrants from Bengaluru to RaipurMigrant workers arriving in Raipur
Coronavirus Migrant workers Friday, June 05, 2020 - 17:57

On Friday afternoon, an Indigo flight landed in Raipur, Chhattisgarh. It had flown 174 migrant workers from parts of Tamil Nadu and Karnataka to their home state, after they had all been left stranded due to the lockdown. All this was made possible by the actions of National Academy of Legal Studies and Research (NALSAR) Hyderabad, who got together just days ago and made possible for the migrant workers to come to Bengaluru airport and go home, free of cost.

A representative of NALSAR for Migrant Workers – the name that those working to help migrants are using for themselves – tells TNM that it all began less than a week ago with a crowdfunding campaign. “We were seeing these images of migrant workers suffering, being compelled to walk home. It was heart breaking. We wanted to help. So, some alumni got together on a WhatsApp group and that’s how it started,” he says.

A crowdfunding campaign on Milaap began, and within a few, it raised over Rs 20 lakh.

The first thing the NALSAR team did was to arrange a bus for migrant workers in Bhilwada, Rajasthan, to Chitrakoot, Uttar Pradesh, with the help of NGOs Search Results Jai Bhim Vikas Shikshan Sansthan and Akhil Bharatiya Samaj Sewa Sansthan. Costing Rs 1.2 lakh overall, the bus carried workers who were employed in brick kilns, but were left in the lurch when their workplace shut down due to the lockdown. There were 20 adults and 25 children on this bus. The workers were also given food for the journey and Rs 1000 each.

On June 2, the NALSAR alumni volunteers arranged for another bus for migrant workers – this time, to help workers in Aloor to the railway station in Palakkad in Kerala. “They had tickets for the Shramik train to Jharkhand but did not have any means to go to the station,” the representative says. The workers reached their home state on June 4.

From the amount they have managed to raise, NALSAR for Migrant Workers has also donated Rs 1 lakh to the National Hawkers Federation in Kolkata, which runs community kitchens. “This will help those in need, and perhaps help with the damage of Cyclone Amphan as well,” the representative says.

For the Bengaluru-Raipur flight, NALSAR alumni were helped by Samerth Charitable Trust and and Loving Migrant Workers Network.

Anupam Sisodia of Samerth, who received the migrant workers at the airport in Raipur tells TNM that workers like them have seen a lot of hardship. “They earn on a daily basis, so their dependence on the market is a lot more. The lockdown threw them in a lurch, and they became even more dependent for essentials and ration on the network of NGOs and the government. However, this system has not been very efficient, putting these workers in a dire position,” he says.

The Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel also tweeted about the incident, thanking the alumni for bringing the workers home. “We are arranging for them to be taken to the quarantine centres in their respective home districts,” he said. Indigo responded to the CM’s tweet as well.

The NALSAR alumni’s crowdfunding campaign is still live and aims to raise Rs 30 lakh to help more migrant workers. You can see and donate to the fundraiser here.

Earlier, alumni of Bengaluru’s National Law School have also been flying migrant workers home. So far, they have arranged and roped in donors to arrange for four such flights. They plan to arrange 10 more flights in the next three weeks to fly home 1800 migrant workers.

Read: NLS Bengaluru alumni are helping fly migrant workers home, here’s what you can do

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