Thought Box



by SL Shanth Kumar April 30 2020, 12:59 am Estimated Reading Time: 1 min, 28 secs

Photographed by SL Shanth Kumar, photojournalist for Times of India, Mumbai, this essay is edited and curated by Shailesh Andrade.

Every year around summer Mumbai sees a lot of migrant workers travelling from the state of Tamil Nadu looking for contract work as the city prepares for the monsoons.

These people find work digging roads, cleaning storm water drains and unclogging manhole drains.

They receive a daily pay for the effort and leave back to their village once the monsoons begins.

This year too saw a migration of workers into the city only to be trapped by the lockdown, with no work and no money.

Living off food being distributed by voluntary organizations, these workers now live on the side of the railway tracks.

They shelter from the sun under tents made from scrap material and their only source of water is a stagnant pool that fills from a leaking underground pipe.

While speaking to Photojournalist SL Shanth Kumar many claimed to have left their children in care of family back home and fear the children could be abandoned, as they cannot send any money.

There are seven expectant mothers living in this camp and all they want is to go back home.

With no running water, no sanitation and no proper shelter these workers are living in conditions worse that war torn refugee camps.

The problem of migrant workers may not be entirely unique to India, but the sheer scale - there are more than 40 million migrant laborers across the country - makes it difficult to provide relief to everyone.

Many of the migrants move from villages to work in the cities as domestic helpers, drivers and gardeners, or as daily-wagers on construction sites, building malls, flyovers and homes, or as street vendors.a

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of The writers are solely responsible for any claims arising out of the contents of this article.