They came to the national capital with hopes of getting a job to earn their daily bread. They got it and are happy. Now, encouraged by the landslide victory of a government that sought vote on the basis of development, some migrant labourers from Bihar are pondering a return to their state.
It was the closure of sugar mills, the government's apathy to areas like the agriculture and corporate sectors, besides the deteriorating law and order system, that forced lakhs of people from Bihar to migrate mainly to cities like Delhi, Kolkata and Mumbai.
However, the migrants feel that the situation has changed in the last five years and hope that the landslide victory for Janata Dal (United)-Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) alliance will open up new employment avenues of through the reopening of sugar mills, the entry of the corporate sector and also vacancies in the government sector.
Ram Prasad, a tea vendor at Kingsway camp in North Delhi, felt the situation is much improved now and more jobs will be generated with the return to power of a government which promised development.
“I am ready to go back to Saharsa (a Bihar district) along with my family. The conditions were not favourable for our survival there so we came here in 1997. Life is not easy in the capital, given the rise in cost of living,” Prasad, a father of four children, said.
Bihar's incumbent government in Bihar led by Nitish Kumar is headed for a clean sweep.
Kumar says development has won in Bihar, adding that the people wanted to put the state on the path of progress.
Sita Devi, a construction site worker from Madhubani district, says the win of development plank in the state means a lot to her.
“The law and order situation in the state has improved much and now with the same government coming, there wont be going back on the front. Even if we get a daily wage of Rs.10-15 less than in Delhi, we would go to Bihar once either sugar mills or industries start,” Devi quipped.
Ram Jatan, a rickshawpullar, wants to go back to his state to take care of his family in Gopalganj district and start afresh as an agricultural labourer as according to him, the government is keen to promote the sector.
Ram Bahadur had a similar story to tell. He said working as an electrician in Delhi has helped him earn a decent wage and save much for his future, but it has not helped him get a reputable standard of life.
“Why will I not go to Bihar? I am hopeful that the day will come soon, but opportunities should be there. The intentions of Nitishji are clear and we have faith in his government that it will create an environment conducive for entry of corporate sector in the state,” Bahadur pointed out.