Manorama Singh, Berojgar Mahila Sewa Samiti (BMSS)
BMSS works with rural and urban poor in Bhilai. Their focus is working on sex trafficking issues, reproductive and child health, and sustainable livelihoods for the poor, particularly migrants. BMSS is a CAC partner.
Some will die due to Covid, while others will die from hunger
The state of hunger and panic is everywhere. Bhilai city has a population of 4 lacs, with many villages close by. Currently, for the pandemic our staff and volunteers are working in Bhilai and the neighbouring villages within 15 km. We are only able to focus on 68 wards including a few slums, and the surrounding rural areas. In some of these wards, there are as many as 2000 families who are poor. Few of the wards have less number of poor households, around 300. We decided to not focus on the middle class at all, because they will probably be able to manage on their own. We are only looking at those families, who have no ration, who are dying of hunger. Most are daily wage earners or factory workers who are not getting any pay during lockdown and have no savings. This wave no one is opening any business even for a day. In the first wave, we went to the District Collector and jointly requested the factory owners to open the factories so that labourers could go and work. They opened it for a few days but then told us there is no market for their products currently in the pandemic. This year they didn’t open at all even with our request. They are saying the cost of keeping the factory to keep the premises open. The situation is such that some will die due to Covid, while others will die from hunger.