A group of around 18 of five families of textile labourers who were on way to Kanpur in Uttar Pradesh were stopped by police in Kapodara area of Surat Saturday evening, and brought back to their homes.
These families were unable to pay their rents and with no earning it had become difficult to survive, as a result of which they decided to leave Surat and head to Kanpur. “We don’t have any earning at present as our factories are closed and it had become difficult to survive and pay house rent, so we decided to leave the place. We learnt that if we walk to the national highway which is 20 km away, we will get transport,” said Ram Narayan Nishad (25), who hit the road with his wife and two minor children.
T he group of 18 alsoalso include Dipak Nishad (24), his wife and two-year-old son; Bannu Nishad (25), his wife and five-and-four-year-old children; Shriram Nishad (30), his wife Ramwati (25), and five-year-old son; and Veersingh Nishad (27), his wife and two four-and-three-year-old children.
While Ram Narayan, Dipak and Bannu worked in different textile factories on Ved Road, and each used to earn Rs 500 daily, Veersingh and Shriram worked in an embroidery unit and each used to earn Rs 600 a day.
The police, on hearing their story, talked to their quarter owner and convinced him to not charge the rent for the month and provide them food packets.
After walking for around four hours, the group which included seven minor children, covered a distance of around nine kilometre and reached Kapodara area near DGVCL office. From here they planned to reach Kamrej taluka which is around 20 km from Surat city. These families rested on the roadside and had chappatis dipped in water.
Surat city crime branch police team headed by police sub-inspector M S Trivedi was on night patrol when he spotted the families.
When Nishad told him their ordeal, Trivedi called an empty police van and took the group to their rented house in Rehmatnagar. The policemen then convinced their house owner Komal Marwadi to not take rent from them. Marwadi collects monthly rent of Rs 2,000 from the tenants of each 15 rooms he has rented out.
“It was sad to see them walk with such small children, and they were planning to walk for 20 km. So we decided to help them on humanitarian grounds. It was soul satisfying. We called the house owner and told him to support the family during this crucial time by not taking rent and he agreed. On Sunday afternoon, we asked the nearby grocery store to arrange kits for the five families which can last for a month,” Trivedi told The Indian Express.
Ram Narayan said, “Since March 22, our factories were closed and we were not given our wages. My wife’s health was not good, so I decided to go back home. Some of the labourers in our colonies had already left the city on March 15, so they didn’t have to face any trouble finding transport. We also hoped to get vehicles, but we didn’t.”
Shriram said, “We are thankful to the police for helping us. Hopefully the factories will open after the lockdown is lifted. Till that time, we will stay here.”
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