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NGO Oxfam India Helps Daily Wagers In Tamil Nadu With Cooked Meals During COVID-19 Lockdown

Chennai: 

While migrant labourers working in the organised sector are reasonably taken care of as employers ought to pay them a salary for the month of March, those working as daily wagers, rag pickers and many others like them are the worst hit. They don't have an employer to pay them salary. It's communities like these that Oxfam is trying to reach out to, around Pudhupakkam along Chennai's prestigious IT Corridor. ​

At around 2 PM this young couple Amit and Pathna from Murshidabad in West Bengal have been waiting since morning for lunch packets given by Oxfam India​. This will be the first meal of the day for their three little children.​

Amit collects scrap for a living. With no income for more than two weeks, the couple has exhausted the little money they had. Pathna says,

We don't have money even to buy biscuits for the children.

Their home is a temporary tin structure, with no walls. Here is where they have been living for the past 2 years in Chennai. But now with an uncertain future, they want to go back home. Amit added,

We want to get back home but there is no way we could do now. We have no money, nor is there transport.

In this colony alone twenty such migrants, all rag pickers and scrap collectors live. ​

As we drove into the hinterland behind IT parks, Oxfam team's car carrying food packets stopped at a house where around fifteen migrant labourers stay. It's an accommodation given by their employers, a shoebox manufacturing company. Most of them say they are penniless as they have used up the little money they had. ​The two meals provided by Oxfam helps them to hope that things will get better.​

While Oxfam is trying to reach out to them with food, to begin with, the challenge is huge to help them sustain till jobs, livelihood and economy improve. Supporting them and those who reach the unreached could make a huge difference for many less privileged amid this pandemic that has crippled the rich and the poor. A senior officer from the government says,

Migrant labourers can contact helplines given for each district. They would be provided ration and even shelter if required.

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