The workers who lost their employment due to the lockdown have decided to further brave the unending journey to their hometown Malda district in West Bengal, which is around 950 km from Lucknow.
Twenty-three migrant workers who started from Noida on foot have walked over 400 km in the past few days with their belongings. The workers who lost their employment due to the coronavirus lockdown have decided to further brave the unending journey to their hometown Malda district in West Bengal, which is around 950 km from Uttar Pradesh’s capital Lucknow.
With no help from the government, these poor people have run out of patience and were spotted walking endlessly on the Lucknow-Agra expressway in sweltering heat. They have also vowed not to leave their state for work after reaching there.
Speaking to India Today, one of the workers Vimal said, “We have no money to give to truck or bus drivers who are ferrying passengers because they are charging hefty amounts. The government is also charging for the travel. We sought help from the cops who arranged a bus for us on the expressway but after some distance the driver dropped us on the road because we have no money. It will take many days to reach Malda on foot but we want to go anyhow. I have also decided not to leave my hometown for work.”
“We don’t know what we will do after reaching Malda but our family is concerned. The government has not provided us any help. We have no money to pay for the transport so the only option is to walk home. However, some people on the expressway have provided us food. It’s been a long time, we have not earned a single rupee. We have no idea when the situation will improve. The only place where we can feel safe is our hometown and we don’t want to return to Noida now,” said another migrant worker Mangal who is walking with his belongings.
Meanwhile, at the Kamta Chouraha in Lucknow, a truck packed tightly with men, women and children stopped around 2.30 pm on Thursday. Those workers who are able to come in trucks, loaders and buses are paying hefty amounts to the drivers. Risking their lives by flouting social distancing norms, these workers are eager to reach home somehow.
Arvind Kumar, a labourer who returned from Delhi along with his family is distressed. The driver who brought him and his family members from Delhi charged the poor migrants Rs 2,000 for each rider.
Speaking to India Today, he said, “The driver charged Rs 2,000 each from me and five other members of my family excluding children to bring us here. We now have to wait here for other transport. People are not ready to take us free of cost. We have very little money left. Since morning we haven’t had food. However, some people provided us water and food after we came here.”
His brother Prem Kumar said ” Since the lockdown has come into effect , there is no source of income left with us . Me and my family members used to work as construction workers in Delhi. Our owner gave us some money to help us in reaching home but now from the Kamta chouraha we have to reach Maal area on the outskirts of Lucknow. The survival was very difficult in Delhi and we didn’t had proper food since past many days.
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