Following the nationwide lockdown in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak, the migrant workers from Northeast are facing serious problems in Maharasthra.
Most of these workers are employed in the unorganised sector and depend on daily wages for sustenance.
With everything coming to a standstill due to the wide-ranging restrictions put in place to stem the spread of deadly virus, they have been left without work or steady flow of income.
According to an estimate, more than 20,000 people from the Northeast reside and work in Maharashtra, most of them in Mumbai, said Leo Tharmi Raikhan, a representative of the North Eastern community in Mumbai.
“We are facing a lot of problems ever since the total lockdown came into force,” he told reporters.
Raikhan said around 99 per cent of the Northeast population in Mumbai and other parts of Maharashtra depends on daily wages for their livelihood.
“They are mostly employed in private and unorganised sectors in places like hotels, restaurants, spa, salons, malls and showrooms. A few of them work in call centres. Their lives have been impacted adversely due to the lockdown,” he added.
Many families and individuals are on the verge of starvation due to sudden loss of employment and stoppage of salary, Raikhan said.
“As the North Eastern people in the State live in rented accommodations, many are unable to pay monthly rent. They are facing pressure from landlords and landladies to pay rent,” he said.
Raikhan said they cannot even leave for their hometowns as there are no transport facilities.
“We request the authorities to help the people from the Northeast who are facing a life-and-death situation,” he said.
Most of these people reside in the Mumbai suburbs of Kalina, Khar, Juhu and Mira Road, among others, Raikhan said.
He said besides facing bread-and-butter issues, people from the North East have also faced a few incidents of racial discrimination.
“We, the people of the North East, will remain grateful for any help rendered in these tough times,” Raikhan said.