Carrying bags weighing nearly five kg, wearing cheap rubber slippers, and with a few packets of Parle-G biscuits in their pockets, Balbir Kumar, and his wife Babli Kumari, began walking 700 km to reach Hardoi district in UP on Monday.
The couple accompanied with Sudhir, and his wife Rekha, along with total seven children, will walk continuously to reach Hardoi in a week’s time. The extreme step come’s after they they failed to register themselves for the special trains to UP.
The group of 11 including seven minor children started their journey from Mohali Sector 85 at 7 am. In nine hours, they had covered a distance of around 20 km and had crossed Derabassi.
“We started walking with the luggage including some utensils, a couple of water bottles, and some clothes, in the morning and Hardoi is still far. My legs have swollen, and one of my children also has fever. I don’t know how will we be able to reach our home, but we will have to. There is no option left,” said Babli Kumari.
Asked about why they didn’t opt for the train journey by registering themselves with the Administration, Balbir Kumar said, “I went to the policemen, and then even filled the form for the train. But it’s been 15 days and I haven’t had received any response. When I went back to ask about the confirmation of tickets, the policemen charged me with sticks and told me to go home and wait.”
Balbir added, “Two days ago a policeman told me and my neighbours to go to the Mohali railway station to catch the train. But our family’s names were not in the list. We have no money left and thus we will have to start moving to Hardoi. Without work we will die of hunger. We have a few biscuit packets given to us by a man crossing nearby, and we hope there will be more people like him on the route who can provide us some food”
Daily wage workers who have been in Mohali for the past 15 years started walking towards their native villages since there was no work for them to do.
“We have our home in Hardoi, where at least we will be able to stay without paying rent, and manage to get some food for our children,”said Sudhir, another migrant.