Migrants leaving city in hordes, but not due to lockdown fears

Migrant workers at the Vaishali bus stand in Delhi on Friday.   | Photo Credit: SANDEEP SAXENA

Despite the Delhi government announcing weekend lockdown, migrant workers in the Capital appear not to be leaving the city yet, though they’re gathering at transport hubs in hordes. Most migrant workers The Hindu spoke to at Anand Vihar ISBT said they are going home for reasons other than lockdown fear and plan to return.

Some, however, were scared that the weekend lockdown might extend. Vir Singh (33) from Uttar Pradesh’s Badaun, sat with his wife, children and other family members with eight pieces of luggage and said he was scared if the lockdown will extend. However, they will come back if the lockdown is not announced, he said.

He also said that the fear of lockdown is not the reason they are leaving. “Currently, we are going home to cast our vote in panchayat elections and plan to come back in 20-25 days but we haven’t forgotten last year also. Thankfully, we were back home when the lockdown was announced but my nephew was stuck in Delhi. I remember bringing him on a bike after riding all night,” he said.

Mr. Singh works as a labourer and resides in Nangli Dairy. Hari Lal Gupta, a resident of Sonipat and a vegetable vendor, and his brother Hari Prasad Gupta, a labourer in Delhi, got together at Anand Vihar bus stand to go to their village in Azamgarh but not because of the lockdown fear.

Other reasons

“Our brother is really unwell and we have to meet him. We’ll come back in a few days. Last year during the lockdown, we got stuck here in Delhi so that scare is there but we are not leaving for good just yet,” said Mr. Gupta.

Rajeev Kumar sat with his peers – all labourers in Rajasthan — at the bus stand waiting for a bus to Etah because they too wanted to cast their vote. “There is no fear of the lockdown at the moment. We are only going for a few days,” he said.

Fear of the past

However, there were some who had packed their luggage for more than a few days fearing a repeat of 2020. Hamid Ali and Sabeena, with their three-year-old son and elder brother, were all set to leave for Mainpuri. “I am a labourer. Work has been less in the last few days and then this weekend lockdown has been announced. This might extend. Last year also it had started with two days and then we’ll be stuck here without any transport to go home. I am leaving now. Don’t know when I’ll be back,” he said.

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Printable version | May 9, 2021 5:30:35 PM |

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