'We registered 25 days back but still waiting for train to take us home'
New delhi/gurugram: The troubles for migrant workers don't seem to end as they still wait to reach back home. At Dwarka Bus Depot, large number of migrant workers stood in lines so that they can be dropped off at the New Delhi Railway Station.
While many buses left carrying 20 passengers each, many workers from Bihar were left stranded outside the depot, where they had been staying for the past three days. About 25 to 30 people sat outside Dwarka's Sector-2 bus depot waiting for authorities to drop them off.
"We got ourselves registered online 25 days back but still are waiting for our train to take us back," said Ram Prakash who hails from Bihar's Madhepura zila. Many workers waiting outside the depot said they have done online registration but still haven't received any information as to when will they be going back home.
"We have been here for the past three days. Whenever we go to the depot, we are beaten with lathis as if our lives have no meaning" said Bakir who also belongs to Madhepura zila. Many people had given up and left as they waited for hours but were not given any information on the train timings.
"I feel so helpless and have no idea what to do," said Subodh who works at a marble market in Dwarka. Left homeless he said that they were told that their train has been cancelled.
Meanwhile, many had left their rooms, thinking they would be going back home. "We have no place to live anymore," said Bakir. In distress, the workers said that they are not being allowed to move on foot. "It would have been better if we would have moved on foot, but we are not allowed to do that either," said Rakesh.
However, Sub-Divisional Magistrate Chander Shekhar assured the stranded people and arranged a night shelter for them. The stranded people have been shifted to the night shelter and are awaiting their turn to go back home.
The official handling the migration process said that limited people apply online, while double the people who haven't applied online come to take the tickets. However, many don't have the accessibility of smartphones.
Many stranded workers said that they don't have phones or internet and are somehow managing to apply online. However, many said that even when though have applied online, they haven't been able to go back home. "We received confirmation as well, but were told that the train has been cancelled. Now, what are we supposed to do," asked Rakesh who also had his toddler and wife waiting with him. While many have reached their homes, thousands of migrant workers stay stranded.
Meanwhile, in Gurugram, as per the district administration, there have been more than two lakh workers who have registered to go back to their hometowns, in which 16,000 workers have already been sent. Not only trains but even buses are being used to make sure that workers return back safely to their home states.
This claim fails to impress Sanju, who along with his four-month-old pregnant wife and one-and-a-half-year-old daughter have undertaken a 630 kilometre journey to reach Amethi. A rickshaw puller by profession, Sanju highlights that he is taking this risk as he could not get any help from the government agencies to go back home.
Just like Sanju, Atif who is also waiting to go back to his home in the nearby district of Rae Bareilly waits for a message to come from the public officials where his date and process of departure will be mentioned.
Lack of coordination with Delhi has also been a major impediment as there is still no proper arrangement to transport the workers to other states.
Reports are also pouring in regarding district administration reducing the number of shelter homes from 54 to 15. Sources have indicated that the reduction of shelter homes is part of the cost cutting exercise by the public agencies.
For the menial workers without ration cards, the Haryana government had issued distress ration token wherein the family would be given 5 kilograms of pulses and 1 kg of wheat.
Out of more than 80,000 workers who have applied for the token, only 9000 have managed to get it so far. Those workers who have received the token are also highlighting the delay in receiving the token first and ration thereafter. Most of the community kitchens have also reduced the distribution of food packets citing shortage of funds.
However, the public officials have claimed that through the help of digital technology and presence of its officials on the ground, the process of registration and departure of workers have been made easier.