1,100 km journey: Exhausted and starved, Manesar Maruti workers finally reach Bihar

New delhi: When Guddu, Roshan, Laltu and Shivam left IMT Manesar 12 days ago with two other friends, they thought all they had to do was somehow manage to get to Delhi, from where they had heard they could register for Shramik Special trains to Madhepura district in Bihar. They had already managed to cross over to the Capital when they registered for the trains online, but after four days of roaming the streets of Delhi, they had not been confirmed for travel.

With Roshan's father having passed away in Bihar, Guddu said, "It is very important for us to leave immediately. We will start walking and find a way." This was on Sunday night. By the time the six of them reached Bihar, they had traversed more than 1,100 km on foot or by paying exorbitant amounts to get on a bus.

Guddu said, "We got on a bus after crossing into UP at night but the driver was asking us to pay Rs 3,000 for each passenger. We decided to pay whatever amount we had, gave the driver all our mobile phones except for mine and got on to the bus. The driver said he would take us to Bihar."

However, according to Roshan, the passengers in the bus made trouble on the way and said they had reserved the entire bus for themselves and that they had to get off. After pacifying the other passengers, the bus dropped Guddu and his friends off just outside of Bihar's border, leaving them to make their own way — with no food or water.

"We had filled our water bottles last in Delhi. The bus did not stop anywhere for food and all we had was biscuit packets," Guddu said. Guddu, Roshan and Shivam used to work as welders at Maruti's Manesar factory. They had not been paid since March and were not being called to work as the factory was operating at limited capacity and welders were not asked to work.

Frustrated that not even a single government official is able to work out something for lakhs of workers like them, Shivam said: "We have crossed so many districts to reach home. It is unimaginable that not one official from all these administrations could facilitate our movements."

By the time the six reached home on Wednesday afternoon, they were starved, had lost almost all their belongings and had not had any drinking water while covering the last 300 km stretch on foot.

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