Other States

Workers’ exodus resumes after brief lull

Migrant workers walk along the KMP Expressway near Pachgaon on Wednesday.

Migrant workers walk along the KMP Expressway near Pachgaon on Wednesday.  

Hundreds of them trudge along Kundli-Manesar-Palwal Expressway daily, with pit stops en route

Despite the Haryana government allowing transportation of migrant workers by trains and buses, the workers, including women and children, continue to walk back to their hometowns in hordes along the Kundli-Manesar-Palwal (KMP) Expressway.

Hukum Singh, a priest at Fazalwas village near KMP toll, said around 200-250 men and women along with kids come daily to the temple and proceed with their belongings on their onward journey after taking a break for a few hours. “We provide them food and water,” he said. Another villager said the exodus had stopped briefly, but the workers have started walking back to their hometowns over the past couple of days in large numbers.

Pappu, a construction worker, on his way back to Jalaun in Uttar Pradesh with his wife and children, said he had registered on the government website several days back but there was no response. He said that he sold his belongings to pay for the rent and decided to leave on foot.

‘No response’

Another worker, Sagar, from Patna, said he too had registered online and called several helplines but there was no response. He hoped to get a ride in some vehicle on his way back to his hometown. He was accompanied by 10 people, including his wife, niece and children.

Vijay Bahadur, who works at a footwear company in Bahadurgarh, said he had not got salary for the month of April and was living hand-to-mouth. “My company sources raw material from China. It may take months before it starts operations,” he said. Hailing from Prayagraj in Uttar Pradesh, Mr. Bahadur said no monetary help from the government came his way and that he need not at least worry about two square meals a day back home. “We arranged a cab for Rs.3,000 to reach Pachgaon from Tikri in Delhi. Now we will hire another cab to reach home. The landlord has taken the key to my room and threatened to sell off my belongings if we don’t return in a month’s time to pay the rent,” he said.

Chanderjeet, walking back to Uttar Pradesh’s Azamgarh late on Wednesday evening, said his company was calling only regular workers for work and not the contractual workers. “We waited for more than a month after the Prime Minister’s appeal, but decided to return to our hometowns now. It might take us more than a week on foot. It is 800 km by train,” said Mr. Chanderjeet, who works at Satyam Autos in Manesar.

‘Police helping at night’

A toll attendant at KMP toll here said hundreds of workers have been walking the highway to go back to their home States. “Though police don’t allow them during the daytime, they flag down vehicles at night to help the workers board them. The exodus has begun over the past few days after a brief lull,” said the toll attendant.

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Printable version | Jul 14, 2020 2:03:21 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/workers-exodus-resumes-after-brief-lull/article31578025.ece

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