Migrant workers have been housed at the Yamuna Sports Complex in Vivek Vihar in the Shahdara district of east Delhi which has been converted into a neat and clean shelter by the AAP-led Delhi government. There are in all 275 migrant workers living here as the lockdown continues. Food, water, medical aid are being provided. Mattresses have been carefully arranged keeping in mind social distancing norms.
Pictures by: Shrey Gupta
Sohan Lal, an earnest young man, is in charge of this facility. “We have migrant workers from UP, Bihar, Rajasthan, West Bengal and many other states. The Delhi Police also brings in people,” he tells us. “They go through a health check-up and then we make them comfortable here. If a worker says he has found a relative or friend he wants to stay with, we arrange transport.”
Breakfast, lunch and dinner is served every day. There is milk and fruit for the children. Yoga classes are being arranged. Bathing facilities have been set up and inmates are given toiletries. Sohan Lal says children from families in the civil defence services have been counselling migrant workers on hygiene and social distancing. The district magistrate, sub-divisional magistrate and additional district magistrate and AAP’s political leaders keep tabs on the place.
The earnest Dr Bindiya is posted here with her medical team round the clock. “We found that we needed to counsel the people on hygiene – to wash their hands and keep their surroundings clean.” She said those with cough and cold are carefully screened. An ambulance is parked to take them to hospital if required. But mostly she has been dealing with routine health complaints.
On March 23, when the lockdown was suddenly declared, millions of migrant workers began fleeing to their villages fearing joblessness and the COVID-19 virus. Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal assured them of shelter and food during the duration of the lockdown. The Delhi government is serving meals to over 600,000 migrant workers at 1,592 locations. This is being increased to serving one million migrants. A humongous effort.