Men in khaki give footwear to migrant workers walking thousands of miles to reach home
The sight of migrant labourers marching thousands of miles to reach their native places barefoot is heart-wrenching. The stories and the images on social media about the suffering and misery of these migrants will remain etched in our memory forever.
The overwhelming majority of these migrants are young people, in their 20s and 30s, existing in highly precarious circumstances. Many of them are in short term employment contracts, they don’t own their own property and live in privately rented accommodation, away from their families, most of the time sharing a flat often in overcrowded circumstances, and they don’t have enough savings to last them long.
Pushed by circumstances, these people were faced with two stark choices: to stay put, or to return to their homeland and their more caring family environment. Many of them decided to walk back home in the face of no transportation facilities.
In a bid to help these migrants, Agra police set up stalls to provide slippers and shoes to migrant workers free of charge. Vikas Jaiswal, CO, Sadar Circle, says, “The summer months in Northern India are as it is challenging. The roads become blazing hot, especially during the daytime, and walking barefoot on them becomes extremely painful. Understanding the problem, the police department of Agra decided to offer slippers and shoes to these migrants.”
Since the beginning of the lockdown, Agra Police has been helping poor people, migrants, rickshaw-dwellers and labourers with food packets and water bottles.
Jaiswal adds, “These are migrants who have been walking for days together from Madhya Pradesh and Rajassthan. This is the least we can do for them. Their smiles are the biggest blessings we are getting.”
Agra Police will continue to render these services in the coming days to all migrants coming back to their homes. The cops have also put up a banner, letting the migrants know about their initiative. The message on the banner reads, “Come let’s cooperate, one mission, one initiative, free shoes and slippers for migrant labourers”.
Jaiswal shares, “On learning about our initiative and getting the slippers, many labourers and migrants had tears in their eyes. Such initiatives will go a long way in developing trust in the police and the state machinery.”