Around 300 to 350 migrant workers, including some with their families, will Thursday move into the financial capital’s first large camp for workers set up by the Maharashtra Home Guards along with a charitable organisation.
On Wednesday night, not long after the structure was built on a 30,000-square-foot portion of the Civil Defence ground in Versova, about a dozen men moved in.
“This ground was given to make shelters for the needy. So, when it came to light that there are migrant workers who are trying to leave, it was a no-brainer that we would start setting up a shelter for them,” said DG (Home Guards) Sanjay Pandey, also in-charge of Civil Defence.
Pandey said the camp was set up at no cost to the state, with the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation chipping in with water tankers, Adani Power providing electricity connection and event organisers and Harmony Foundation footing the bill for the tent construction and food.
In the first phase, while there is a capacity to accommodate 400 to 500 persons, Pandey said they were prepared to extend the capacity and run the camp beyond April 15 if the lockdown period was extended.
Through Thursday, buses with special permissions will bring in groups of labourers stuck in Bandra (East), Dharavi, Jogeshwari, MIDC and Uran to the camp.
“With state borders sealed and the lockdown enforced strictly, thousands of workers are unable to return to their native places and are also finding it difficult to live in Mumbai without any income since there is no work available during the lockdown. The camp is to enable them to live safely during the lockdown period,” said Dr Abraham Mathai of Harmony Foundation.
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