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Monday, May 10, 2021

Panchkula: Jobs gone, two friends leave for home in Kanpur

The two have been living and working in Panchkula hotels and restaurants for the past seven years.

Written by Jagpreet Singh Sandhu | Chandigarh |
Updated: April 27, 2021 8:09:47 am
Anish Ali and Ranjit Kumar on their way to Kanpur in UP

It was nearly five months ago that Anish Ali, 21, and Ranjit Kumar, 20, returned from their native village in Kanpur district of UP to Panchkula. They had pedalled down to their village following the nationwide lockdown in May last year. With the second wave of Covid taking away their jobs, the two decided to return to Kanpur on Tuesday.

But this time, they left in a mini van whose driver charged them Rs 800 per person. The two have been living and working in Panchkula hotels and restaurants for the past seven years.

“In 2020, we were working in the housekeeping department of Hotel Bella Vista. But in April 2020, we were told to find a new job. Since we had no job and no money left, and there was no public transport, we took our cycles and pedalled back to Kanpur. We returned in December, hoping to earn some money, and started working in the housekeeping department of a brewery in Sector 9. But now again our contractor has sacked us, so we are leaving for Kanpur,” said Anish Ali.

The youngsters say they don’t want to risk getting stranded in case of another lockdown. “The last time we covered around 800 kilometres on our bicycles; we got ulcers on our feet…it was sheer hell. We are leaving today before the local transport shuts down,” adds Anish.

The duo said they were getting Rs 9000 a month at the brewery. “We were paying Rs 2500 as rent for a room at Haripur village in Sector 4, Panchkula. Now since we have no job, it is difficult to survive here. We will at least have a place to sleep and food to eat in our village,” added Kumar.

The mini van was packed to the brim with many other migrant workers like them.

Special Bus Service

Surjeet Kumar, a staff member of Jeet Bus Service, said they are running three buses to Bihar and UP from Zirakpur, Baddi and Derabassi every day to cope with the rush. The buses are fully loaded with 75 passengers per bus. Surjeet said, ”Most of the passengers are returning to different districts in Uttar Pradesh, for which we charge a fare of Rs 500-700. For Bihar, we charge Rs 1500-1700.” The bus for UP leaves at 5.30 pm, while the Bihar-bound bus starts its journey at 11.30 am from Zirakpur.

He further added that maximum number of migrants are heading to UP. ”The fare will be increased if the government imposes complete lockdown and the seating capacity is reduced to 50 percent,” warned Surjeet.

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