A day after Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee assured all help to people stuck due to lockdown outside West Bengal, six elderly persons stranded at an Assam tea estate urged the state government to bring them back.
Speaking to The Indian Express over the phone, Ajoy Chakrabarti, 58, said he and his five friends had gone to Assam on a vacation on March 20 to visit Kamakhya Temple and were scheduled to return on March 26. However, they got stuck after the nationwide lockdown was announced and had been staying at Ambica Tea Estate at Khoirabari since then.
“We were caught by surprise when the nationwide lockdown was announced without giving us time to return home. The lockdown was enforced just hours after Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s address and since then we are stuck in this tea estate. We are not paying for our accommodation as it belongs to our friend, but we are running out of money to buy food and medicines. As all of us are elderly people, some have blood sugar and heart ailments. The medicine we have right now will not last long. We urge the Mamata Banerjee government to make arrangements to take us back home,” said Chakrabarti.
Chakrabarti and two others — Sarada Banerjee (63) and Indrani Banerjee (56) are residents of Kolkata, while three others — Sandip Pal (62), Sangeeta Pal (51) and Sanchita Munsi (54) — are from the Howrah district.
Chakrabarti, however, said a medical team had visited the tea estate and conducted COVID-19 tests on them. “All of us have tested negative. We are free to return home, provided there are transport arrangements. Yesterday, CM Mamata Banerjee said that her government will take people like us back home. We are hoping that our pleas will be heard by the administration,” he said.
Extending a helping hand to people from West Bengal stuck in other states due to the lockdown, the chief minister on Monday assured them of help.
Using her Twitter handle, Banerjee said, “GoWB (Government of West Bengal) will initiate every possible help to people of Bengal stuck in diff (different) parts of the country due to lockdown, in returning home. I’ve instructed my officers to do the needful. Till the time I’m here, nobody from Bengal should feel helpless. I’m with you in these tough times,’ she wrote.