In a first in the country, 180 migrant workers stranded in Mumbai were flown to Ranchi, Jharkhand on a chartered aircraft arranged by the alumni network of a Bengaluru-based law school on Thursday, May 28.
The special Air Asia flight carrying the migrant workers left Mumbai at 6.25 am and landed at Birsa Munda Airport in Ranchi at around 8.30 am.
The initiative was the result of efforts by a group of graduates from National Law School (NLS), Bengaluru, who raised around Rs 11 lakh through crowdfunding to help migrant workers. The team was also helped by Priya Sharma from IIT Bombay and several NGOs.
"Initially, we were trying to arrange buses for migrant workers. However, on comparison, we found the total cost of flight, about 11 lakh, was not much higher than the bus. So, we decided to send them by flight and started raising funds," Suhaan Mukerji, one of the NLS alumni and a Delhi-based lawyer told Hindustan Times.
He said that the group came to know about 45 people from Jharkhand who were stuck in Mumbai and booked 45 seats in a regular flight, however, the flight got cancelled, which prompted them to get permission for a special flight.
"We had sought support from the Jharkhand government for the migrants after their landing in Ranchi. Chief minister Hemant Soren told me he would monitor the arrangements. The state government arranged buses for the workers to reach their native places," he added.
After reaching Ranchi, the migrant workers underwent medical screening. The administration also provided them with food packets and send them to quarantine centres in different districts of Jharkhand in buses.
"Today, 174 migrant labourers returned home safely due to the untiring efforts of the alumni of National Law School, Bangalore, and officials of the government of Jharkhand and Maharashtra. I thank the Alumni Network of National Law School, Bangalore (ANNLSB) for this noble and unique work," Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren said on Twitter.
Hailing the team's efforts, he added, "In the time of such crisis, the alumni of NLS have voluntarily extended their support to our migrant workers. I thank them for their humane gesture, and I hope that their actions will encourage many more individuals and groups to help people in need."
नेशनल लॉ स्कूल, बंगलोर के पूर्ववर्ती छात्रों के सहयोग एवं झारखण्ड एवं महाराष्ट्र सरकार के अधिकारियों समेत इस पुनीत कार्य में सम्मिलित सभी कोऑर्डिनेटरों के अथक परिश्रम से आज 174 मज़दूर सकुशल झारखण्ड, अपने घर लौटें। इस नेक एवं अद्वितीय कार्य के लिए मैं एलुमनाई नेटवर्क ऑफ नेशनल 1/2 pic.twitter.com/4Mkh5mf8Vk— Hemant Soren (घर में रहें - सुरक्षित रहें) (@HemantSorenJMM) May 28, 2020