Updated: August 1, 2020 7:50:54 am
Ali Hussain Ansari finally managed to board a Shramik Special train on Friday evening for his hometown Hazaribagh in Jharkhand after over four months of being stranded without work in Mumbai.
The last Shramik train that had left the city was on June 30, to Manipur. Ansari neither had money to board the other trains that had started operations nor could he manage to find a job despite the gradual opening up of the city.
Ansari worked as a loader in a garment factory’s godown in south Mumbai. The godown was also his home, as was the case for five others from Hazaribagh, all of whom had come to Mumbai together in January.
The job paid him Rs 9,000, but he had barely worked for two-and-a-half months when Mumbai started shutting down from the second week of March, followed by the lockdown on March 22. He counts himself fortunate that he could continue sleeping in the godown. For food, he had to depend on ration and food distributed by social groups in the area.
During the lockdown, his attempts to return to Jharkhand remained unsuccessful. But this Thursday, he received the call he had been waiting for all these days – he had been listed for the Shramik train that would take 70 other passengers like him from Bandra Terminus to Giridh in Jharkhand. The five others in his group are also returning with him.
Just before the lockdown was imposed, they had tried to return home by train. A part of a larger group of women and senior citizens, they could not board the crowded train. “Hiring private vehicles were also not an option as we did not have enough money,” Ansari said. Even as many migrant workers have begun returning to the state for work, staying back is not an option for Ansari. “We continued to stay in the godown without earning any money, our savings dwindling. We would have stayed back if there was any hope of work resuming soon but the employer does not have any clarity on the matter,” he said.
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