The images of migrant workers trudging along the national highways, in a bid to return to their hometowns, are etched in our minds. Back home, there has been little relief for labourers who are grappling with issues of unemployment. Distressed by their condition, Manoj Bajpayee and wife Shabana Raza have joined forces with Helping Hands Charitable Trust to launch the initiative, Shramik Sammaan. The programme aims to generate employment for workers in their hometowns by launching small-scale businesses across the country.
Among the first projects to kick into action is a cold-pressed oil extraction unit in Bhagalpur, Bihar. The other measures include a mask-making drive in Faridabad and Mumbai, establishment of women’s tailoring unit, and liquid soap and sanitiser manufacturing unit in Uttarakhand, and production of bamboo articles in Haryana. “There are 74 projects on the cards. The plight of the migrant workers has shaken us all, and sadly, their struggle to make ends meet continues. This initiative is the need of the hour. It’s a holistic approach to managing the rural economy,” says Bajpayee, who will create awareness about the programme. “I will also be involved in raising funds.”
Shabana notes that the troubles of the community have not ended with returning home. “It is a huge relief to know that this drive aims to address the issues at the grass-root level.”