Deeply moved by the plight of migrant workers amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Kings XI Punjab all-rounder Tajinder Singh Dhillon has started distributing food and water to over 10000 refugees walking back to their villages.
The coronavirus-forced lockdown has triggered a migrant refugee crisis in the country with lakhs of people trying to walk back home battling extreme heat and hunger.
The gravity of the situation hit Tajinder hard when he happened to tune in to a news channel one evening a week ago.
The 27-year-old from Rajasthan soon sprang into action and arranged for food and water for the poor migrants who were taking the highway near his house.
“The main highway towards Kanpur is about 100 metres from my house, and the people on the news spoke about that route being used by migrant workers who are moving out of Delhi,” Tajinder was quote as saying by KXIP website.
“I told my family members that all of us should collectively help these migrant workers, many of whom were walking without chappals (slippers). I then called my friends who live in the vicinity and we planned out on how to distribute food to the migrants.”
Tajinder also reached out to others, who joined the noble cause, providing potatoes and flour to make vegetable and chapattis for the migrants.
“A gentleman in our locality has a vegetable business so I requested him to give me potatoes in bulk for making the sabzi (vegetable),” Tajinder said.
“We also got 50 kilos of wheat flour which we distributed equally to a lot of households in my colony so that they can make the bread. By the end, we had about 1400 bread ready for distribution.”
While the policemen helped organise the crowd, Tajinder and his friends distributed the food to the migrants.
“The first day we fed around 1000 migrants, the next couple of days that number rose to 5000, which included so many young children. Alongside feeding them ‘aloo-puri’, we also gave them milk and ‘meetha paani’ (sherbet),” he said.
“We have been distributing food for five straight days now. There were fewer people on the road today, so we gave the food to the buses that were ferrying the migrants back to their home towns.”
The health crisis has so far claimed over 3000 lives and infected more than 1 lakh people in the country.