MUMBAI, March 26 - People from North Eastern States working in Maharashtra are having a tough time due to the COVID-19-induced lockdown as most of them 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 novel coronavirus, most of these people have been left without work or steady flow of income.
According to an estimate, more than 20,000 people from the North Eastern states reside and work in Maharashtra, most of them in Mumbai, said Leo Tharmi Raikhan, a representative of the North Eastern community in Mumbai.
He told this news agency: “We are facing a lot of problems ever since the total lockdown was imposed. Around 99 per cent of the North East population here in the city 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.”
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. They cannot even leave for their hometowns as there are no transport facilities, he said.
“We request the authorities to help the people from the North Eastern States 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.
“Besides facing bread-and-butter issues, people from the North East have also faced a few incidents of racial discrimination,” he rued. “We, the people of the North East, will remain grateful for any help rendered in these hard times,” Raikhan said. – PTI