Thousands, including children, have been camping at Ambadi for last four months.
Mumbai: Thousands of villagers from across Mokhada, Jawhar, Nashik and Amravati have gathered at Ambadi, Bhiwandi, 25 kilometres away from Mumbai, in search of work opportunities. It’s not just the young, but even children and senior citizens have are seen residing at the temporary shelters set up in an open ground.
Faced with a lack of employment, improper water and food facilities and political apathy, these villagers, mostly adivasis, arrived in Ambadi over the last three-four months. Most of them have found work at construction sites in nearby areas. But given a choice, they would have liked to stay back in their village.
“We don’t like to leave our hometown but we have left with no option as we did not even have drinking water in our village, forget about food or job,” said Dakar Somaiyle, a villager from Mokhada, who came to the city last month looking for opportunities at construction sites. The 62-year-old, did not come to the city alone, but brought his entire family along. “If I left them there, they would die of starvation. Bringing them here was the only option I was left with,” he added.
A relative of Somaiyle said that villagers had tried talking to the gram panchayat of their village regarding this issue. “Even after talking and highlighting the issues again and again, nothing really happened. Here, if nothing else, we get food once a day. And if not even that, we at least get clean drinking water here,” he added.
A family from Manmad in Nashik district, who came to Amdadi village three months ago, says all the funds, which are sanctioned by the government for adivasis, never reaches them. “We have heard several promises related to funds, especially those reserved for us, But it is funny that we only get promises, but no funds,” said Ranja Tai, from Manmad.
Ranja has a six-year-old daughter , who has accompanied her while migrating from Manmad to Ambadi. When asked about what would happen to her daughter’s education, she said, “If we are able to earn at least something every day, we would at least be able to feed her. Education is secondary for us as our primary focus is to be alive.”