For the last three days, Gajender Kumar Mahavar has been sleeping on the lawns of Bikaner House, trying to catch the next bus to Rajasthan.
A smalltime businessman from Tonk in Rajasthan, he has just enough money to buy food and a bus ticket.
“I cannot afford to stay in a hotel. My family back home is also getting anxious about my well being.”
The standoff between the Gujjars, the Rajasthan government and now the Meenas has turned the Jaipur-Agra highway into a battleground. Buses have been burnt by the dozens and the Rajasthan Tourism Development Corporation is not risking any more vehicles.
An employee at Bikaner House said, “At least 80-100 people turn up daily hoping that the bus service will resume. People are getting desperate to return home, since apparently the situation has caught them unawares and short of money as well.”
The RTDC is allowing people to stay in its waiting room.
Most of the stranded people are in Delhi on official work. A few were on holiday that has been cut short. “The whole thing has killed our mood. Now we just want to leave Delhi and don’t know when,” said Ravi Saini of Jaipur. He and his family of 19 were trying to go back after vacation.
The Railways cancelled 24 trains to and from Rajasthan and nearby areas on Friday, the highest cancellations in the last four days.
Seven of them have stayed cancelled since the tension first broke out three days ago. Northern Railways said three important trains — the Jammu Tawi-Jaipur Express, Ajmer Shatabdi and Bareily-Bhuj Express — will stay cancelled on Saturday as well.
Stranded passengers are queuing up at the Delhi station for refunds and crowding waiting rooms.
“Passengers on trains that being terminated in Delhi on their way to Rajasthan will get full refund of fare for the rest of the journey,” said a Northern Railway spokesman.
(With inputs from Avishek Dastidar)