The Gujarat government on Monday distributed over 10,000 ration kits among migrant workers at the ship-breaking yard at Alang in Bhavnagar district where a large number of migrant workers are residing during the lockdown.
“A total of 10,700 ration kits were distributed today among the workers with the help of NGOs. These kits contained essentials that will last them for 15 days,” said Gaurang Makwana, District Collector of Bhavnagar. He said social distancing was maintained during the distribution and indelible ink was used on the fingers of each worker collecting the ration kits.
When asked about the delay in the distribution of ration at Alang, Makwana said, “We were waiting for the plot owners (ship-breakers) to pay the workers their salaries for the month of March. We had to step in after the Ship Recycling Industries Association wrote to us that they will not be able to provide rations to the workers.” The distribution was organised at different points at the yard where ship-breaking activities have come to a halt.
Makwana said that officials will travel to Alang on Tuesday with the ration kits. “We will ensure that no one is left behind at Alang. It is our responsibility,” he added.
Last week, when The Indian Express visited Alang, several workers said that they were running out of rations and the state administration had done little to provide them with foodgrains and other essentials. Workers were also apprehensive that they will not be paid for 15 days of lockdown in April their as muster cards — that record their attendance and over-time — were not been created by the plot owners for the current month.
“About 8,000-10,000 ration kits were distributed to the workers by the district administration. The kits contained rice, wheat, oil, salt and masala among other things. Those living with their families were given larger kits,” said Sanjay Singh, secretary, Alang Sosiya Ship Recycling and General Workers’ Association, a body representing the workers at the yard.