Bengaluru pubs become shelter homes for employees from Northeast


SHILLONG | JUNE 17, 2020:

Many pubs in Bengaluru have turned into shelter homes for several employees hailing from the Northeastern states, since most of them have no place to stay in view of prevailing situation.

It was alleged that most of the aggrieved Northeasterners have been thrown out of their houses for failure to pay rent. Coming to their rescue, the respective pubs opened their doors to its employees.

Since pubs were not allowed to operate, the owners were not in a position to pay salaries to their staff. Because of this, some owners have allowed their employees to take shelter in their pubs for the past two months.

One of the employees from Sikkim, who was working as a bartender in Koramangala, Bengaluru, said he and his colleagues took in many of their friends, who have been thrown out of their homes by their landlords because they could not pay rent. At least 15 people were living in the pub.

Though the owner did not provide them with food, they were allowed to use the kitchen to cook meals for themselves, he said.

President of North East People's Voice Foundation (NEP), Rahul Rai, said "We visited many such pubs and bars during the lockdown and provided the staff with food and rations. We also gave them monetary help to return to their states after the special trains started running."

Rai said that there are about seven lakh people from Darjeeling, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim, and Tripura, who are employed in Bengaluru.

While half of them have returned home, some stayed back after being provided with rooms by their employers, hoping that they will resume work soon.

Rai added that those who were working in restaurants, pubs, bars, and salons were affected the most. "And even after the relaxation of the lockdown, restaurants were the last to open," he added.

Most of the people taking shelter in these pubs are those belonging from Darjeeling, Nagaland, Meghalaya and Sikkim, said Rai.

While some of them managed to arrange for private buses to reach their respective states by paying Rs 7,000 per head, others who cannot afford to pay, are staying in the city with their friends, he added.