More than 10,000 migrant workers from various parts of Bihar have availed packages of groceries through the Bihar Foundation, a registered society under the Bihar government’s Department of Industry. With funds from Bihar’s government, the foundation has distributed relief material at various locations in Mumbai and Thane.
“…As we keep ramping up quantities, we find more people in need,” said Ahsan Hussain, secretary of Bihar Foundation’s Mumbai chapter. Set up by the state’s diaspora in 2007 with the aim to aid the development of their home state, the society began relief work on March 26. From then until April 14, nearly 5,000 people, almost all of them daily wage earners from Bihar, have queued up for meals every day at various locations, including Dharavi, Govandi, Mankhurd, Byculla and Kalya.
“Today, our daily food distribution reaches 4,250 people in the morning, and an equal number of people in the evening,” Hussain told The Indian Express.
The packages of grocery material have reached well over 10,000 beneficiaries, with each package including five kg of rice, three kg of wheat flour, two kg of lentils, one kg of mustard oil, half a kg of jaggery and two kg each of onion and potato, along with packets of salt, turmeric and chilli powder. “It’s a substantial relief package, a family can survive on it for several days. We ran into several challenges with the staff, as well as procurement and logistics, but…will continue services as long as there is demand for it,” he added.
The foundation has also taken over a college building in Bhiwandi, where they have set up a shelter for up to 500 workers from the state who need a place to stay until they can go back home.
Hussain said that as the foundation is set up for the welfare of those from Bihar, the focus group is Bihari workers. “However, we have helped others who have approached us too,” Hussain said.
The Bihar government has also begun the process of depositing Rs 1,000 in the bank account of every Aadhaar-verified migrant worker from the state, he added.