Hundreds of migrant workers who left for other states — on foot, pushcarts or other available means — from Ludhiana started returning Monday after running into sealed borders in Haryana and Rajasthan.
While a few of them were able to cross over before the police clamped down, others had no option but to retrace their steps.
Congested rooms, no scope to move out are major reason behind workers leaving, claimed T R Mishra, owner of Mishra Dyeing while talking with The Indian Express. Mishra said,”A number of daily wagers had started walking from Dhandari Kalan after the construction work in factories and other repair works stopped altogether. Families also walked along with kids in their laps. But today morning, they came back after running into sealed borders. They are back in their rooms in Gyaspura.”
A number of families from Kailash Nagar had also left, some of them on motorcycles, but even they came back by the evening. Late on Monday evening, Punjab government announced that government school buildings will be opened for migrant workers who are homeless as of now and even Radha Soami Satsang Beas offered their deras for stay of migrants.
“Many of them stay in vehras where there are many rooms and 3-4 bathrooms. In many vehras, up to 500 persons also live. With everyone stuck together inside due to lockdown, they are feeling congested,” claimed Mishra.
Ram Parsad, a worker in Gyaspura, said, “Normally half of us work in day shift and rest half in night shift, hence on any given time, we are 2-3 in the room. But now with the lockdown, all of us are in small rooms with no ventilation. It is difficult to stay indoors all the time. Moreover, I have hardly any money to pay rentals, support my food expenses etc.”
Ram Parsad said he left hitching a ride on a tempo Sunday, but returned on Monday afternoon. Two other migrant labourers — Swami Dyal and Jagram of Ambedkar Nagar – too said that they returned after not being allowed to enter UP through Sharanpur border.
“About 30 families of our area took lift in truck and they reached Ittawa safely. They have reached their villages,” said Jagram.
Swami Dayal added,”Few others have also reached as far as Gorakhpur through their bicycles, motor cycles, rickshaws and even rehras. Many had started 3-4 days back. We got late in deciding, so we are stuck here.”
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines