Migrants workers mortified about going home empty-handed
Most of the migrant workers are daily wagers and live alone in other cities as they cannot afford to keep their wives and children. Now, their biggest problem is that they have no money as they couldn’t work amid the lockdownUpdated: Apr 28, 2020 23:51 IST
Ratan Lal, a 24-year-old migrant labourer from Bihar eagerly awaits to go back to his home in Bettiah, as he has not yet seen the face of his infant son, who was born amid the lockdown about 20 days ago.
“I want to see my son and wife. My son is 20 days old today, and I haven’t even seen him. Can you imagine how desperate I am to be with my family,” says Ratan, wiping his tears. However, he regularly phones his wife, who is at her mother’s house and does not have an internet-enabled cellphone to send him photo of his son. “I have named my son Krishna, and I pray every day for this lockdown to end so I can meet them.”
Ratan and his four friends, who are construction workers in Chandigarh, reached Karnal on March 29 and are waiting for Bihar government to ferry them home.
This month, more than 700 labourers have been sent home, but 41 migrant labourers are still awaiting their turn Karnal’s shelter home.
The place still reverberates with painful stories of the struggle of migrant labourers. Most of them earn less than ₹500 a day and have left families back home, to come to other states to earn a living.
Ruhideen Khan, another Bihari labourer wishes to reach home before his sister’s wedding on May 20.
“I promised her I would make it to the wedding, but I am stranded here. Now nobody knows when we will reach home,” he told HT.
Most people left in this shelter home are daily wagers and live alone in other cities as they cannot afford to keep their wives and children. Now their biggest problem is that they have no money as they couldn’t work amid the lockdown.
“My wife and three children are worried as I could not send a single rupee this month,” said Nawab Singh of Karauli of Rajasthan. Nawab and three other labourers from his hometown worked as masons in Zirakpur, Punjab, and they decide to reach home on foot on March 27. However, they were stopped by police in Karnal the next day and were sent to the shelter home in Kunjpura.
“We pass time playing ludo on the cellphone and talking to each other. Although our lives are already full of trials and tribulations, this lockdown is the worst period I have experienced,” said Sonu Sharma, a youth from Khyala in Delhi, who sells sarees in Baddi, Himachal Pradesh.