New Delhi [India], May 14 (ANI): Against all odds, migrant workers have embarked upon a long journey on foot to their native places in Bihar notwithstanding special passenger trains being run to ferry stranded migrants back to their homes.
Left exhausted in terms of options and resources, these guest workers from Bihar, while heading towards their homes under the scorching sun, shared their ordeals while speaking to ANI at the Yamuna Expressway.
"My 30-year-old brother died due to hunger in our village in Madhubani district during the lockdown. We went to the police station, seeking permission to go to our village. Police did not give us any permission. I along with my father and other members of my village are going by rickshaw," said Pramod Kamat, one of the migrants, while speaking to ANI.
Showing the marks of police brutality on his legs, Pramod added: "I was living here in Rohini. I was heavily beaten up by the police. They do not allow us to go in groups. I had purchased rikshaw at the cost of Rs 3,000 after selling my mobile phone. It is a tough journey but we will reach in three to four days. We do not have the money to purchase train tickets."
Pramod's father, Ganga Kamat, who is 65, said that he is mourning after his son's death.
"I am pained for not being able to see my son for the last time. We were waiting for the lockdown to be lifted. It was extended again and again. We all became jobless. The landlord has asked us to vacate the rooms. We do not have money and food. Police did not beat me. However, they have severely beaten up my son and other people, who are going with us."
Though the Delhi government and the Noida administration have asked the landlords not to force their tenants to pay the rent, labourers, who are forced to cover a journey of miles, as they were unable to pay the rent, said if they get jobs in their village, they will not come here again.
"I was living in Noida. The landlord has asked me to pay the rent or vacate the room. I do not have money as I became jobless after the lockdown. The company I was working with asked me not to come to work during the lockdown period," said Vishwanath Kamat, another migrant.
"I get to know that the government has started a train for us, but we do not have any money to purchase the train tickets. If I get any job in my village, I will not come here. However, I doubt that I will get any work there in Bihar," he added.
Adding to migrants' woes, truck drivers on their way are also duping them.
"We do not have rickshaw and cycles. We had given Rs 25,00 each to truck drivers. We deposited Rs 15, 000. But he had cautioned us that he will only take us to as much as distance as the police will allow. At Noida border, police stopped the truck and asked us to come down. Truck drivers did not return the money," said Bablu Kumar Kamat, while other migrants concurred to what he said.
The only relief the migrants are getting is from the people, who are rendering humanitarian services amid the lockdown. There are also some truck drivers, who are giving a lift to the migrants to reduce their journey distance.
"We are a group of five people. We are providing food for these people. We are providing water bottles and providing 200-300 food packets daily. We have been doing it for the last eight days," said Sanjay, who is delivering food packets to the migrants.
"I am going to Aligarh. These migrants are also going in the same direction. I will drop them at Tappal. I am not charging any money from them. I am helping them on a humanitarian ground," said Javed Ali, a truck driver. (ANI)