Mumbai, May 28 In an unprecedented gesture, the alumni of the National Law School (NLS), Bengaluru, raised funds within hours to send a group of 180 stranded migrants in Mumbai back to their home state Jharkhand, officials said here on Thursday.
A flight was chartered from AirAsia for the purpose, which left Mumbai at around 6 a.m. and reached Ranchi after a couple of hours, the airline said in a statement.
The NLS alumni association hired the 180-seater Airbus A-320 aircraft of the budget carrier for carrying out the humanitarian operation after domestic flight services were resumed in the country on Monday.
“AirAsia India is proud to be a part of this initiative that helped migrant workers, adversely impacted by the lockdown, reach their homes and families,” said Anup Manjeshwar, Head (sale and distribution), AirAsia.
Before boarding, all the passengers were screened, provided safety kits comprising face mask, sanitiser and face shield, he added.
According to Manjeshwar, the airline has worked closely with the NLS alumni, which independently crowdfunded the efforts to help repatriate the migrants from Mumbai to Ranchi.
The unique initiative was described as a massive group effort with Priya Sharma of the Humanities and Social Sciences Department, IIT-Bombay, and the NLS alumni, according to lawyer Shyel Trehan, one of the organisers.
“NLS taught us the importance of the value of equality and dignity. We are happy to have made this very small contribution to address a massive travesty,” Trehan said.
All the migrants, for many of whom it was a maiden flying experience, underwent screening at the Birsa Munda Airport in Ranchi, where they were given food packets before being dispatched to quarantine centres across the state in buses.
Jharkhand Chief Minister has expressed his gratitude to the NLS alumni, saying while the spirit of humanity has been strengthened amid the Covid-19 pandemic, the gesture will also inspire many other people and institutions to come forward and help the needy.
“I was working in a company making ladies’ garments. During the lockdown, the company shut down. We were finding it tough to get two square meals day. Now I will never go outside the state to earn money. This is the first time that I boarded a flight,” said Mohammad Mursid Ansari, a resident of Chatra district, after landing in Ranchi.