Migrants arriving in Delhi stranded at Ghazipur
With trains from several states operating only up to Delhi, those who had made reservations on other trains till their home towns are waiting at the railway station, while many, who have run out of money, have decided to walk home.Updated: May 19, 2020 00:04 IST
Shafiqul Islam, a migrant labourer, had arrived in Delhi from Jammu on a special train on Saturday. The 26-year-old helplessly wandered around the city for two days in search of a bus to his village near Bihar’s Katihar city. He reached the Delhi-Uttar Pradesh border in Ghazipur on Monday, deciding to walk home.
Islam had gone to Jammu with a group of 36 migrants in search of work three days before the nationwide lockdown was announced in March. “We could not earn a penny. We exhausted all our savings in the last two months. Some of us had to ask our families to send money. When we got to know that trains are going to Delhi, we decided to book tickets and leave. We arranged for ₹1,300 each for the tickets to come here. Now, we don’t know what to do since buses are not available,” he said.
The group has walked for two days continuously, climbing flyovers and bridges, in the scorching heat. “We heard today (Monday) that buses are ferrying people to Uttar Pradesh and Bihar from Ghazipur. We walked for four hours from the inter-state bus terminal (ISBT) to Ghazipur, only to get disappointed further. We are ready to go home on foot, if the police allow us,” he said.
Migrant workers arriving in Delhi on trains from other states have been stranded at the Delhi-Uttar Pradesh border in Ghazipur, as they try to make their way back home to Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Bihar.
With trains from several states operating only up to Delhi, those who had made reservations on other trains till their home towns are waiting at the railway station, while many, who have run out of money, have decided to walk home.
Deepak Kumar, chief public relations officer of the Northern Railways, said, “Those who are arriving in special trains, and are not from Delhi, are arranging for their travel home on their own. We are only facilitating their travel in trains.”
A spokesperson for the Delhi government said that the parent states of the migrants should arrange for their transport home, since the Delhi government has “no role” in this process.
A senior official in Delhi government’s transport department said, “The Delhi government is not mandated to arrange inter-state transport. We are have already arranged the Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) buses to drop them at the borders. From tomorrow, all our state-run buses will start plying within the city. Also, cabs, autos and para-transit modes will be available. So, things will further smoothen out.”
Scores of migrants have been rendered helpless upon reaching the national Capital, in the absence of inter-state transportation facilities. A majority of such migrants present at Delhi-UP border on Monday said they cannot afford to pay hefty fares to travel home.
Ram Bahadur, 53, who worked as a welder in Jammu, arrived in Delhi on Monday morning. He has been trying to reach his home town in UP’s Faizabad since April 24 — the day his 28-year-old daughter died. “After trying for a month, I got a ticket confirmation on Saturday. The DTC bus outside the railway station dropped us at the Delhi-Noida border. Where do I go now? I could not see my dead daughter, but I at least want to go home to be with my inconsolable wife. She will die of grief,” said Bahadur.
A senior police official said that the majority of the migrant workers gathered at Delhi-UP border in Ghazipur in the last two days had arrived in New Delhi on special trains operated from other states, with their final destinations in Uttar Pradesh. “These people were dropped up to the Ghazipur border in DTC buses. Many even walked up to the border, trying to cross over into UP, but were not allowed by the UP police. As a result, they were stranded here,” said the official.
Gangesh (who goes by his first name), 26, a migrant worker from UP’s Unnao said that the state government should not have started the trains before arranging for inter-state buses. He said that his group of five had booked bus tickets to Unnao with a travel agency. “The five of us had paid ₹14,000 together. We had to ask our parents to send money. We were told that the buses will be available here, but when we reached, there was no bus operating. We don’t even have money to buy food. Why doesn’t the government think about people like us before taking these decisions?” he said.