Complaint last thing on minds of migrants heading home

Migrant workers boarding the first special train from Dadri station to Bihar's Aurangabad on Saturday.

Migrant workers boarding the first special train from Dadri station to Bihar's Aurangabad on Saturday.   | Photo Credit: Sushil Kumar Verma

As Shramik Special leaves Dadri station two hours late, passengers going to Bihar ‘happy’ to be on board

Anxiety was writ large on the faces of the passengers waiting for the Shramik Special train, bound for Bihar’s Aurangabad, to depart from the Dadri railway station on the outskirts of Noida on Saturday. The train was scheduled to start at 11 a.m. but pulled out of the station a little after 1 p.m.

A handful of passengers could be seen stocking up water being provided by helpful residents of homes along the railway tracks for what would be at least a 14-hour journey, as the mercury rose in step with the sun. However, not even one of the 1,500-odd passengers, who boarded the train after two rounds of thermal scanning at the station, could be heard muttering a single complaint.

The two-hour delay in the journey, according to the passengers, was “nothing” compared to the almost two months of hardship, uncertainty and endless wait that they had to face away from their families and amid a pandemic.

It was the first of the four special trains to depart during the day with migrant workers who were stranded in Gautam Buddha Nagar due to the nationwide lockdown. Two such trains each were scheduled to depart from the Dadri and Dankaur railway stations between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. on Saturday.

“I was waiting for this train since the lockdown came into effect; it is okay if it is departing later than it was supposed to. I am happy I will get to see my family after this journey ends,” said Krishna Rai, a resident of Bishanpur, who worked as an office assistant at a private company in Noida.

Mintu Shah from Chhapra said he was stranded in Dadri since arriving here on March 19 with his sister Nirmala to attend a court hearing in a compensation case involving their father Ramesh, a painter who died in a road accident. “We were stuck here for two months. It was difficult to arrange food for us and my two nieces who accompanied my sister. We had no idea everything would be shut,” he said.

Mahendra Prajapati, who is employed at a printing press in Aurangabad, said he was visiting his relatives in Dadri and was scheduled to leave around the time the lockdown was announced.

“Not only my relatives but a number of others from my village were stuck here because of the lockdown. We were all staying at the Chhalera village in Noida. This train is a relief which has come a little late but I am glad it has come, after all,” he said.

Mr. Prajapati’s relative, Umesh, a welder employed at a private company in Noida’s Sector 5, said the lockdown had made it seem like “everything had ended”. Though his company had reopened, his longing to see his two children was stronger than the urge to join back work. “At least I’m going home now to my family. I don’t know whether or when I will be back. I don’t feel like staying here because of the novel coronavirus threat and what contracting the infection could do to me and my family,” he said.

Shailender Kumar Singh, an office assistant who stayed in Greater Noida, said he had to subsist on money from home. “The company I worked at was shut during the lockdown. They paid me only for the days I had worked in March. I had to call home and ask for money. I’m going home with a debt I to owe my family,” he said.

Vinay Kumar, an office boy who was employed in Noida’s Sector 2, said he was having a hard time deciding whether or not to return to city. “The bigger question than whether or not to come back is how will I survive if I do not,” he said.

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Printable version | Jun 1, 2020 1:23:55 AM |

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