The students and alumni of Chanakya National Law University, Patna (CNLU) along with Child Rights Centre, CNLU have set up Shramik Saarthi, a dedicated COVID-19 response resource center to help migrant labourers and the working poor tackle social and financial hardships and facilitate their rescue, relief and rehabilitation. ‘Shramik Saarthi’ is, inter alia:
- Financing and facilitating safe travel of migrant labourers from New Delhi to Bihar.
- Providing dignity kits to the working poor in New Delhi and Bihar through NGOs working on the ground,
- Acting as a helpline/one-stop center for attending distress calls by providing immediate relief facilitating government and non-government relief measures and/or providing direct cash transfer;
- Collating and disseminating credible government and non-government information/data.
- Conducting research on issues of health and livelihood of migrant labourers by working at close quarters with experts, stakeholders and local authorities and subsequently making policy representations to the State of Bihar.
Shramik Saarthi is being run by a few alumni of CNLU along with around 60 students of the institution, and its operation is being facilitated by the Child Rights Centre, CNLU and the University administration. Manas Pandey, Harshit Anand and Yashwant Singh, three former students of CNLU, are the convener-coordinators of this initiative who work at ICICI Bank (Mumbai), Khaitan & Co. (Kolkata), and PDS Legal (Delhi) respectively. The Team is tying up with volunteers, NGOs and solidarity groups working on the ground to extend immediate relief to those in need.
Financing and Facilitation of Travel of Migrant Labourers
Shramik Saarthi tied up with ‘India Against Corona’ initiative of Turn Your Concern Into Action Foundation (‘TYCIA’) to arrange an air-conditioned bus for 60 migrant labourers from Bihar and facilitate their travel from New Delhi to Sitamarhi in Bihar and from New Delhi to Patna in Bihar. Requisite permissions under applicable laws were obtained for the same.
Further, all the Migrants underwent medical screening by a registered medical professional to ensure none of them showed symptoms of COVID-19 before they boarded the bus. All the migrants were provided with basic food supply and sanitization kits (including gloves, masks and sanitizers) before the commencement of travel.
Adequate provision of food and basic amenities were made for the Migrants for the journey. ‘Shramik Saarthi’ kept in touch with the local administration in Sitamarhi so as to ensure that upon the arrival of the migrants at their point of destination, they were properly quarantined under the applicable law and basic amenities were provided to them.
Relief Work in Bihar and Delhi: Provision of Dignity Kits
Shramik Saarthi has also provided dignity kits to 30 families in Bihar, 250 workers in Delhi and 30 migrants of Madhepura, Bihar. Through TYCIA, it has facilitated the arrangement of food provisions for 30 migrant workers in Sitapur, Uttar Pradesh who were travelling from New Delhi to Madhepura in Bihar via Sitapur.
Shramik Saarthi also tied up with ‘Koshish Charitable Trust’ (‘Koshish’), a registered NGO operational in Patna, and through Koshish, provided Dignity Kits to 30 poor families of 4 to 5 people each in Patna, Bihar. Each Dignity Kit contained food grains, milk, masks and sanitary pads. ‘Shramik Saarthi’ further tied up with United Religions Initiative (‘URI’) and through URI, it has provided dignity kits which will cater to 250 needy workers in New Delhi. Each Dignity Kit contains 5 kg of rice, 5 kg of flour, 1 kg of Chana Dal and Sugar each, 1 litre of cooking oil, turmeric, chillies, dhaniya powder and salt.
One Stop Centre/Helpline, a dedicated Website and Work on Policy Representation
Shramik Saarthi has also attended distress calls and facilitated assistance either through local authorities or through NGOs/solidarity groups working on the ground. It has facilitated the procurement of e-pass and medical certificate for 30 migrant workers stranded in New Delhi for travel to Madhepura, Bihar.
As of 7 June 2020, ‘Shramik Saarthi’ has collated and distributed a list of active government helpline numbers of all 38 districts of Bihar. It has also created a comprehensive database of government and non-government information/data such as COVID-19 Helpline Nos, E-pass links, latest Centre and State guidelines/directives/notifications/circulars/press releases/schemes, relevant judgments of Courts, State labour helpline Nos and contacts of NGOs providing basic amenities such as food, water, shelter and medicines.
The resource centre has launched a website by the name of Shramik Saarthi on 9 June 2020 (Tuesday) where this database along with other relevant details and latest updates is freely accessible for different stakeholders of the crisis. ‘Shramik Saarthi’ has also prepared a white paper to provide recommendations on issues of institutional quarantine and employment of labourers who have returned to Bihar and shall make this policy representation to the relevant department of the Government of Bihar by 14 June 2020.
The Second Phase of Operations
Shramik Saarthi has commenced second phase of its operations and plans to send more migrants home by sponsoring bus fare as well as train tickets. One can continue contributing for the cause using the following details:
Bank Name – State Bank of India
- Branch: CNLU Branch, Mithapur Patna
- Account Name: Chanakya National Law University Patna
- Account Number: 34992255957
- IFSC Code: SBIN0015996
The team requests donors to send a screenshot of your contribution with the transaction details to cnlucovidresponse[at]gmail.com.
For those interested in getting in touch with ‘Shramik Saarthi’, they can do so via email on cnlucovidresponse[at]gmail.com. Shramik Saarthi can also be contacted on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn.
You can also contact one of the following by phone:
- Manas Pandey: +91 84474 48779
- Yashwant Singh: +91 92056 38669
- Harshit Anand: +91 9471004694