Despite the government’s efforts to arrange vehicles to transport them, the labourers can be seen moving on the road.(HT Photo)
Despite the government’s efforts to arrange vehicles to transport them, the labourers can be seen moving on the road.(HT Photo)

UP: Migrants burning their feet, hole in pocket to reach their homes

Migrants are so desperate to reach home that many of them started their journey on foot while some exhausted their savings and a few borrowed to book a truck or other vehicles.
By Chandan Kumar and Saurabh Chauhan | Hindustan Times, Lucknow, Lucknow
UPDATED ON MAY 19, 2020 11:21 AM IST

In the grip of poverty due to the lockdown, thousands of migrant labourers are on the road, returning to their respective homes either by bicycles, hitch-hiking or walking. This is happening because the hapless migrants, stuck in various states, have lost their jobs and also hope to get them back in the prevailing circumstances.

They are so desperate to reach home that many of them started their journey on foot while some exhausted their savings and a few borrowed to book a truck or other vehicles. Despite the government’s efforts to arrange vehicles to transport them, the labourers can be seen moving on the road.

“Who wants to step out in such scorching heat. The government says ‘jahan ho vahin raho’ (stay where you are) but how can one live without food and money,” asked one Dinesh Kumar Gupta, who was on his way to Siddharthnagar district.

He was stopped by police at Khurramnagar crossing on Sitapur road and assured that his travel arrangements would be made.

All vehicles at Kamta crossing in Lucknow are east-bound. Buses, trucks auto-rickshaws, motorbikes and bicycles are all carrying them home. Gorakhpur, Basti, Kushinagar, Gonda—all east UP districts—are their destinations. Some have to travel further to Patna, Madhubani and Darbhanga in Bihar. A few have to go beyond till West Bengal.

Sitting in a cramped auto-rickshaw one Sukumi Bano was looking for water. Bano worked as a housemaid in a high rise complex in South Delhi.

Her employers gave her some money last month but refused to help further. With no hope of joining work, she decided to return to her village in Madhubani with four other housemaids in the auto-rickshaw owned by her husband.

“The the journey is very hard but we had no other option. I don’t know what will happen to us. All I can think of now is home,” she said.

One construction worker Lallan Prasad, 55, of Bihar’s Motihari district said he had gone to Jammu on March 5.

“I stayed without food for four days after I exhausted all my savings. I borrowed some money from a contractor and reached Delhi and got a private bus that will drop me at Gorakhpur. I paid Rs 1000 for the journey,” said Prasad.

Gopal Singh is among the 10 persons who are on their way to Bihar’s Darbhanga district. He is annoyed with the Bihar government. “They left us to die,” alleged Gopal.

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