Published On : Sun, Jun 21st, 2015

Keep your people in your state, dear Raman Singh!

The Chief Minister of Chattisgarh.
Dear Shri Raman Singh,
You are our immediate neighbor and for long while we were part of the same state of Central Provinces, later called Madhya Pradesh. Then it became our lot to join Maharashtra while you became an independent state. We still nurture close ties and many of your populace, specially tribal people are much sought after here as workers. They work in our Ginning mills, they work on our farms, they work in our homes as domestic servants and they are also the most commonly seen construction workers.
They are so much in demand because they are hard working, honest and simple people. They live in modest hutments they build themselves and every evening cook their frugal meals on road side chulhas made of bricks.
They help in making our state prosperous and their employers very happy because the meager wages they work on add to their healthy bottom line/ profit margins.
But what do, THEY get out of this, have you wondered?
Just come to Nagpur and look for yourself. Go to Ward no. 38, which is the isolation ward of the Government Medical College and check on 25 of your state people admitted there. They have been complaining of violent stomach pain, and are dehydrated from puking and continual lose motions since 2 days. Officially, they are supposed to be suffering from ‘food poisoning’. Actually, it is the water they drank that has caused it… ( unless GMC officials are ready to refute this and come out with a detailed report of why these people are suffering, we will go by their version).
Is the health and well being of your people, whom we call ‘migrant workers’ here not important? Do they not matter? Are they not Indians too – and dont’ they have a right to basic human amenities, like clean drinking water? What about toilets for them…. what about  the much touted ‘Swachata Abhiyan’ in their case??
The irony is that these people, who are suffering from drinking unclean water and / or eating infected food are working for not just Nagpur’s but India’s biggest ‘packaged food manufacturer’. They make tons and tons of namkeens, mithais and ready-to-eat frozen food that is exported all over the globe. Of course it will be claimed that they are not the Company’s direct employees – they only work for the Contractor who is in charge of the construction happening at the site. But the site is their’s right? The construction is for them – what about their moral responsibility….also legal?
The tragedy is that since they have been stricken and are in the hospital NO ONE who is anyone has come to check on them, offer them help or just tell them sympathetically to get well soon.
Not the Collector, not the local MLA/ MP, nor the ‘Guardian Minister’ of the city nor any official of the said Company.
Among the Nagpur media, only our humble press has taken any notice and our Senior Journalist Samuel has been to GMC and spoken with them and taken their photos.
Today, being a Sunday and his day to go to Church, he was stationed outside the CM’s residence for 3- 4 hours trying to get admission so he could bring the plight of these people to the CM’s notice and get his comment on the matter. But he came away disappointed…
When people are affected by drinking poisoned hooch in Mumbai, all of India seems to take notice! After many of them die, it becomes international news – politicians rush to offer help; police go out to ‘arrest’ the person responsible for selling the country liquor.
In their case, it can still be said that they voluntarily chose to drink the stuff, they bought it willingly with their money – they had a choice.
But what choice did these affected people have than to drink the water that was provided to them? If the water tank had a lid or not; if it was replenished with clean water everyday or not, they still HAD to drink it – they had no choice!
Have any arrests been made in their case? Has any one offered them support or sympathy? Has anyone even taken note of it?
We know not. Because we have been following up with so many people and they are not even replying to our queries or bothering to talk. Why will they when they can be seen on television doing ‘Yoga’ and talking about health for ALL?!!
Therefore Mr. Raman Singh, it is our humble request to you, keep your people with you, at least if something happens they will have their near and dear ones to care for them and if God forbid, anything worse happens, to mourn for them!
Here, in the second Capital of India’s most “prosperous, developed and ‘civilized’ state – they have no one….they seem to be no one’s responsibility.
Yours sincerely,
Nagpur Today