Mangaluru, May 07, 2021: As many as 20 migrant labourers who had nowhere to go as the lockdown set in have been offered free shelter at a farmer’s house at Mundaje village in Belthangady taluk of Dakshina Kannada district.
Nearly 50 days ago, Kerala-based contractor Naufal had engaged 20 labourers to rebuild the embankments for a water channel in Kapu village as it had been damaged in floods.
After the lockdown came into being, the contractor who had arranged accommodation for the labourers could not visit the sites. Initially, six labourers staying in a rented house were evicted by the owner, informs the genial farmer Sachin Bhide.
Soon, the remaining 14 labourers, including women and children, were asked to vacate the rented houses by the respective owners.
Bhide proved to be the saviour for these stranded labourers by offering them all accommodation at his own sprawling tiled house at Dumbettu, 4 km from Belthangady.
“Some of the migrant labourers hailed from as far as Nippani in Belagavi district and they had no money to make the return journey before the lockdown set in,” Bhide said.
The farmer realised that if the labourers were to abandon the works, nearing completion, all of it worth Rs 50 lakh would be washed away when it rains.
Bhide had tents built in front of the house to accommodate some of the labourers.
He and his family are staying in another house a km away from the Dumbettu house.
“Labourers have enough rations to last for a week. I am buying the medicines that they need,” he said.
The labourers walk on foot to the work site, half a kilometre from the house. Though the chances of the labourers contracting Covid 19 are remote, necessary precautionary measures have been taken, Bhide said.
The farmer, not content with providing the labourers free shelter for 30 days, hopes to meet Belthangady MLA Harish Poonja and tahsildar.
“The works will be completed in the next three days. With the help of the MLA, I am keen on engaging a KSRTC bus to ferry back all the 20 migrant labourers to their villages,” Bhide said.