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Hoping to return home, migrants walk to rlwy station daily

By Gunjan Sharma
May 19, 2020 16:13 IST
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'They say government is doing so much but ham to ab bhi yahi hain'

IMAGE: Migrants wait at a government school to get screened before boarding buses for the Anand Vihar Railway Station to leave for their native places. Photograph: Manvender Vashist/PTI Photo

With utensils packed in a bucket, besides other belongings, 42-year-old Lal Babu's family walks from Manesar to Gurgaon railway station everyday in hope of getting their chance to travel back to Bihar's Muzaffarpur district.

Babu says his family of five got their registration done for Shramik Special trains from a volunteer before they crossed over from Bhiwadi, where they were working on a construction site.

They however, don't have the number or any document now.

"Three weeks back, I asked for help from a boy who was volunteering at a place where food was being distributed in Bhiwadi. However, all of that has stopped now, it was in initial days of lockdown. He had said our registration is done and we will be able to get a train from Gurgaon. We are camping in nearby Manesar now under a flyover as cops in Gurgaon won't let us spend time there," Lal Babu said.

They walk over 20 kms to the railway station with their belongings everyday as they cannot afford to leave them behind in case the family manages to board a train to their hometown.

Lal Babu is among several other migrants, who have no idea about their registrations and are clueless about when they will get a chance to go back home.

"We walk to the station daily in hope they would let us go. I ask at the station every day that if my name has come up in the list and they ask us to go back and not come there. They say government is doing so much but ham to ab bhi yahi hain (we are still here)," he said.


Accompanying Lal Babu's family of five, is Bharat Kumar, who used to work as a labourer in Sohna.

"My contractor did not pay my balance and asked me to vacate the room too. My wife and son are waiting for me in Bihar but I don't have means to go. My son told me on phone that they saw in the news that everybody is walking back home and why don't I come too. I told him that I am too far and won't be able to survive that long a walk," he said.

Two kids with their face covered with cloth are waiting outside the railway station entry, where their parents have gone to find out about the train.

"My father has gone inside. I am taking care of our utensils and bag till he returns. We will go in train then," 5-year-old Krish said.

Atari Devi, his mother, said, "There is no hope that we will be coming back and it will be difficult for us to buy all utensils again so I have packed them all to go back. There are several trains which are going but not our train. We have to go to some other area and wait because here police will not allow to stay".

As per the official data, over 10,000 migrants have left for their hometown since last week through Shramik Special trains and roadways buses.

"The schedule for these trains has not been made public and only workers selected by authorities are being allowed entry inside the station premises after proper screening. Arrangements have been made at Tau Devi Lal stadium for these migrants and no one should come directly to the station," a representative at the railway station said, who refused to be identified.

The migrants, however, say it is a long wait to get entry to the stadium as there are already enough people inside.

"We went to the stadium but could not go inside as the guard told us there is no space inside for more people and they don't allow us to gather outside the stadium," Imarti Devi said.

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Gunjan Sharma
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