Avinash Khemka, a Cuttack-based industrialist, aided helpless migrants returning home along National Highway after the lockdown was implemented. He was supported by the Cuttack Police and hence provided cooked meals and packaged drinking water since April 16.
Khemka, was moved by the pictures of migrant labourers struggling to get back to their homes. He initially provided at least 1,000 packets of cooked food and packaged drinking water to all those travelling through the National Highway. He also arranged transport for more than 100 distressed migrant workers during the lockdown.
His morning would start at 5.30 am5.30 am with the distribution of 3,000 meals, both cooked and dry, and one litre packaged drinking water on NH- 16 at Bandal near Tangi every day. He has also arranged eight 200 litre drums of drinking water and a 4,500-litre water tanker at the place for workers to brush and wash and refill their jars for their journey’s ahead.
“It was distressing to see on news channels the plight of migrant workers and decided to extend help. I will continue relief distribution till the exodus ends,” said the businessman who claims to have provided food and drinking water to more than 56,000 migrant workers on NH-16 till date.
Indian migrant workers during the COVID-19 pandemic have faced multiple hardships. With factories and workplaces shut down due to the country’s lockdown, millions of migrant workers had to deal with the loss of income, food shortages and uncertainty about their future. Yet people like Khemka gave us hope and showed the world that humanity was beyond the nature of the disaster.