Migrants wait for buses as political slugfest goes onUpdated: May 20, 2020 22:51 IST
Ghaziabad: Even as the Congress and the BJP government in Uttar Pradesh remained locked in an escalating fight over transportation for migrant, hundreds of workers have been reaching Anand Vihar-Kaushambi border in Ghaziabad in the hope of catching a bus to their hometowns.
Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra had offered to send 1000 buses for ferrying migrants to their natives in Uttar Pradesh. The UP government had accepted the offer and first asked the Congress to send the buses to Lucknow for necessary inspection, and then tweaked the instructions and asked the party to send 500 buses at each of the state’s border with Delhi in Noida and Ghaziabad.
According to the transport officials, no bus has reached its destination point in Ghaziabad or Noida.
“We heard that Priyanka Gandhi was sending buses to Ghaziabad so we came here but buses were not available. The cops deployed at the Delhi-Ghaziabad border told us to go away and said that there were no buses. We are still roaming around in hope to getting buses to our home towns,” said Anil Kumar, a migrant worker who had come from Bahadurgarh in Haryana and a native of Rae Bareli in Uttar Pradesh.
Like Kumar, Kamla Shankar also came to the border from Kanawani near Indirapuram in hope of getting buses.
“My grandfather has passed away and I need to go to my home town in Allahabad. So our group of about 8-10 people came to Kaushambi in hope of getting buses. There was news that 1000 buses were coming to UP so we came here. But there were no buses available,” he added.
The Ghaziabad administration has been running bus services to cities in UP from Morta on Delhi-Meerut Road and had decided against running buses from Kaushambi after a major influx of migrant workers in the last week of March at UPSRTC’s Kaushambi depot when the lockdown was announced.
The officials of state-run UP State Road Transport Corporation (UPSRTC) said they have ferried about 50,000 migrant workers to different cities in UP in the past one week.
“We have been running about 200 buses per day to ferry migrant workers to their home towns in UP such as Jhansi, Balia and Gorakhpur. Nowadays the frequency of buses has come down to 75-80 buses per day as train services has also started from Ghaziabad. Earlier, we had about 400 UPSRTC buses in Ghaziabad and now we have received 100 more buses,” said AK Singh, regional manager, UPSRTC.
He said the current fleet strength of UPSRTC buses is enough to ferry migrant workers.
“Even if the (Congress’) buses arrive, we already have sufficient buses with us to cater to migrant workers. The number of those coming in seeking transport has also reduced after the state government pressed in trains. We estimate that the number of incoming migrant workers will also get reduced in another week. Migrant workers arrived at the border and the police were making regular announcements.They told workers that no buses were available and requested them to go back,” he added.
Since May 15, the Ghaziabad administration has been catering to migrant workers from UP and Bihar as three trains each per day to the cities in two states have been leaving from Ghaziabad railway station.
According to officials, a train each is ferrying an average of about 1200-1400 passengers per day.
“Our officials were present till the late night on Tuesday at Ramlila Ground in Indirapuram and also at Sahibabad in case any of the 1000 buses sent by the Congress reaches Ghaziabad. But no buses have come so far and we are waiting for directions,” said RR Soni, regional transport officer.
The Anand Vihar-Kaushambi border has already been sealed by the Ghaziabad administration.
Awanish Awasthi, UP’s additional chief secretary, had said on Tuesday that UP CM has directed for 100% utilisation of entire fleet of about 12,000-odd UPSRTC buses.
“We have about 2 lakh workers who are coming to UP each day from buses and trains from different states. We have about 1,044 trains which have come in or are in the process of reaching UP. The fleet of about 12000 UPSRTC buses has also been roped in for ferrying migrant workers. Each district has been given permission to run at least 200 buses and no migrant workers will have to walk to his home,” he said on Wednesday.
“We have increased trains and buses in past couple of days. They are in operation from Ghaziabad, Noida, Saharanpur, Jhansi, Mathura, Prayagraj, Kanpur, Moradabad and being sent to different cities,” he added.