Even as several migrants stranded in Gujarat due to the Covid-19 lockdown have been sent back to their native places in special trains and buses, many of them from Surat and Bharuch continue to walk back to their homes in Uttar Pradesh as they have not been able to book train tickets yet.
On Thursday afternoon, Brijesh Nishad, 20, from Orai in UP, along with his colleagues reached the Golden Chowkdi in Vadodara, hoping to reach home by road.
Nishad, who worked as a textile painter at a firm in Surat GIDC said, “We have been waiting since May 1 for a ticket on trains that have started. But we have not been able to purchase a ticket. Our employer took Rs 800 each from 50 of us to book out train tickets but he could not. So we asked him to return our money and we set out on foot. My family is back home and I have waited patiently all these days to go back home. But even two weeks since the trains resumed, I haven’t had any luck.”
Like Nishad, 22-year-old Divyansh Yadav a migrant worker from Bharuch, also set out after purchasing a cycle, hoping to reach home in Kanpur within two weeks. “I asked my family to send Rs 6,000 to me so that I could buy a cycle. I spent Rs 5,000 on the cycle and have kept the remaining amount to buy food on the way,” he says, adding that despite contacting the local administration, he could get a ticket on the trains that have departed so far.
“What could I have done? I waited for all this while and my family had been sending me money for survival since April but this cannot go on forever. So, I will have to find my own way to reach home,” he said.
Vadodara Police Commissioner Anupamsinh Gahlaut, however, said, “We did not come across any migrants who were left on the streets. In coordination with the district administration, our team of 100 officers is ensuring that every migrant who is stranded goes back home. We are awaiting green signals from the home states of these migrants along with permissions to run trains to the destinations. As these permissions come in, more trains will depart. We are also counselling the migrants to not set out on foot as even the state DGP is very sensitive about this matter.”
Several other migrants walking from Golden Chowkdi on Thursday evening claimed that they had been asked to walk to Godhra in Panchmahals from where they could board a train to UP on Thursday evening.
Congress leader Jitendra Solanki arrived at the spot and paid a couple of tempos to transport the people to Godhra, but the trucks were sent back from the Panchmahals district checkpost at Halol.
“The trains running from Godhra are only for migrants being listed by the administration in Panchmahals. It is a streamlined process for each district. No migrant is asked to travel to any other district on their own,” Panchmahals SP Leena Patil said.
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