Moved by the plight of migrant workers amid the COVID-19 pandemic, India pacer Mohammed Shami has started distributing food packets and masks to those travelling back to their homes, while also arranging three flights from Mumbai to Delhi for them.
Besides, setting up food distribution centres for poor migrants near his house in Sahaspur, Uttar Pradesh, Shami is also trying to arrange three Mumbai-Delhi flights for the stranded workers.
Shami said he has been involved with the relief work for a long time and it gives him immense pleasure.
"For the past two three months we are going through difficult times and there are difficulties for common man. We 2,3 friends are doing this COVID work for a long time (sic). I can't do it alone. I thank all my friends who are helping. We are organising bhandars (community kitchens) from where food is distributed," Shami said in an Instagram Live chat.
"We are making a small effort to arrange three flights from Mumbai to Delhi for the people who are stuck there. Those who want to come to Delhi. We are trying to arrange whatever possible flight."
The India pacer thanked the local administration for their help and support.
"The buses which come to-and-fro Delhi know where we are serving food and where people can eat. The administration, including the SSP, SDM and officials of health department have helped us a lot."
Shami said they have set up a helpline number for stranded workers and he can also be reached directly through his Instagram page.
"We are just trying to continue our effort so that most of the people who are stuck reach their homes safely. You can directly message me on my Instagram page or mail me. If you are in more trouble you can contact my manager directly, the number of him will be posted.
"Stay safe and stay home and never give up, keep fighting. We will see you soon on cricket field," he said.
Earlier in the day, the Board of Control for Cricket in India posted a video of Shami, who is seen wearing a mask and gloves, handing out food packets and masks to people travelling in buses and those at the food distribution centres.
"As #IndiaFightsCorona, @MdShami11 comes forward to help people trying to reach home by distributing food packets & masks on National Highway No. 24 in Uttar Pradesh. He has also set up food distribution centres near his house in Sahaspur," the BCCI wrote.
The coronavirus enforced lockdown has triggered a migrant movement crisis in the country with lakhs of people trying to get back home battling extreme heat and hunger.
The novel coronavirus outbreak has so far claimed over 5000 lives and infected close to 2 lakh people in the country.