Back from Punjab's Amritsar due to lockdown, Bahraich man says won't return

Bahraich, Jun 2 (PTI) Six years back Rajkamal moved to Punjab from his village here.

Back now because of the coronavirus lockdown, he is not going there again.

Rajkamal says he was studying in Class 8 and had just married when he moved to Punjab’s Amritsar to earn a living.

He, along with his five brothers and 20 other people from his village, sold ‘laddu karare’, a snack made of ‘chana dal’, at Jorha Phatak of Amritsar’s Sundarnagar.

Each person earned Rs 12,000 to Rs 15,000 per month, he says.

'Around 1,000 people from Bahraich and Gonda alone sold the snack in Amritsar and adjoining areas. Adalat Tiwari, a resident of Payagpur area of Bahraich, made the laddu, while we sold it,' 25-year-old Rajkamal says, adding that now he will stay in his village and do something for his family.

Rajkamal, a resident of Imarti village in Vishveshwarganj block of Bahraich, says he had come home for Holi and returned to Amritsar on March 16.

They resumed their work on March 18 and then the lockdown was imposed. He was stuck in a room with around 15 people.

Rajkamal says it is unfair to talk about social distancing in that situation.

The survival became difficult after their savings frittered away in a couple of weeks.

On April 8, he, along with two other people, started the journey back home.

Experiencing hunger and thirst, requesting police at various check-posts to let them go, they covered around 250 km and reached Ambala.

“The Haryana Police did not allow us to proceed to UP. They did not provide us any shelter in Haryana. We were forced to return to Amritsar,' says Rajkamal.

He says after some days, they were left with no money and ration.

'We were dependent on ration provided by some social activists or the langar organised by gurdwaras,' he says.

During this time, a call was made to Bahraich MLA Subhash Tripathi, who made efforts to get them registered on a government portal.

Rajkamal says he tried to board a UP-bound special train from Amritsar a couple of times but his name was missing from the list of the people returning home, every time he went to the railway station.

'On May 11, I boarded a Shramik train and got down at Gonda, from where I reached my village in a bus,' he says.

Rajkamal says he was found fit in a medical screening as no COVID-19 symptoms were detected. He had quarantined himself in the verandah of his house. PTI CORR NAV RDK