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Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Migrant workers return with debt over their heads instead of saving in hands

Migrants belonging to UP, Bihar and Jammu and Kashmir had been stuck in the buffer zone. As many as 1,615 migrants and their children were evacuated from the area over the last three days.

Written by Saurabh Prashar | Chandigarh | Published: June 1, 2020 1:56:30 am
coronavirus, coronavirus in chandigarh, migrant workers, migrant workers in chandigarh, coronavirus hotspots in chandigarh, indian express news The last group of migrants left on Thursday through Shramik special trains (Representational Photo)

KAMLA KISHORE Yadav from Bahraich in UP came to Chandigarh in January this year to make money and send a part to it to his family, however, stuck in the Bapu Dham Colony (BDC)-26 buffer zone for the past three months, not only has he lost all his earnings, but accumulated debt.

Yadav is going back to his village with a debt of Rs 4,500, which he owes to two of his fellow labourers, who had arrived in Chandigarh before him. Bapu Dham Colony, a hotspot of COVID-19 patients accounts for at least 80 per cent of the total cases in the city and was declared a containment zone on May 5.

Kamal Kishore Yadav said, “On arriving here, I started working as a Palledaar (loading-unloading vegetable sacks) with a trader at Grain Market-26. I took refuge in a small room, which was already being shared by two persons from my home district. Everything was smooth but all of sudden uniformed personnel came and sealed the colony. We were trapped in the buffer zone since March 22. I am illiterate and only came to know about the government aid after someone informed me on May 17. I only received a pack of dry ration once on May 18. All my small earnings got exhausted and I had to borrow money from my fellow workers, who had come to Chandigarh before me.”

Kamal Kishore Yadav was among the 694 migrants stuck in the buffer zone of Bapu Dham Colony, who were allowed to go their native states. He said, “A leading biscuit manufacturing company is situated near my village in UP’s Bahraich district. Although the company has been shut since March 1, labourers are doing small chores there. I plan to work there once I reach UP.”

Another migrant worker stuck at Bapu Dham Colony-26, Rehman said, “I am thankful that we were struck in the buffer zone, from where not even a single COVID-19 case was reported. If we had been struck in other areas within the colony, I am sure, we would not have remained safe.” Rehman worked as a palledaar at Sector 26 Grain Market.

Migrants belonging to UP, Bihar and Jammu and Kashmir had been stuck in the buffer zone. As many as 1,615 migrants and their children were evacuated from the area over the last three days. Chief Engineer Rajeev Singla said, “At least 694 migrants, including men, women and 104 children from Bapu Dham’s buffer zone were sent to their native states. The last group of migrants left on Thursday through Shramik special trains. The operation of Shramik special trains is being suspended from Friday.”

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