Bhubaneswar: Odisha Human Rights Commission provided (OHRC) a huge relief to the sex workers residing in the state capital. These sex workers are facing difficulty due to the lockdown implemented in Odisha. The OHRC directed the Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC) to provide food and rations to the sex workers.
The direction was issued by OHRC member Asim Amitabh Dash while hearing a petition. It was filed by Namrata Chadda, chairperson of ‘MADHYAM’ and ‘Mahila Adhikar Abhyan’.
The rights panel directed the BMC commissioner to provide ration to sex workers. This is irrespective of whether they have ration cards or not. The order specified that strict compliance should be made and reported in the next hearing June 18.
Chadda in her petition had highlighted the plight of the sex workers in the lockdown and coronavirus scenario. She also claimed to have arranged rations for them from NGOs and other sources.
Plight of sex workers
“We are facing a lot of difficulties due to the lockdown. The livelihood of our community is at a great stake, said Nagamani Rao, the leader of the sex workers at Mali Sahi. It is the only red light area in Odisha state capital.
Nagamoni informed there are 90 permanent residents of Mali Sahi. Forty others used to come there from elsewhere including Kolkata to earn their livelihood.
BMC officials said that the ration card holders of Mali Sahi have been supplied with rice for three months.
Anil Dhir, a volunteer, had earlier written to the authorities about the plight of the sex workers. He said that those residing in Bhubaneswar and Paradip were among the most vulnerable. The loss of income has put them in anxiety and deprivation. None of them have Jan Dhan accounts, in spite of having Aadhaar cards.
Dhir had requested the BMC to convert the existing bank accounts of the sex workers into Jan-Dhan accounts. Then they would receive Rs 500 each month as announced by the Centre under the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana.
Chadda said this is the right time for the Odisha government to announce a specific economic package. This will help them tide over the crisis.
PNN & Agencies