Migrant labourers, who left Delhi after lockdown, trickle back; most cite money crunch back home

·3-min read
Representative Image
Representative Image

By Joymala Bagchi

New Delhi [India], May 28 (ANI): With Covid-19 positivity rate in Delhi plummeting to nearly 1.5 per cent, migrant labourers who had left for their home states, during the lockdown in the national capital owing to a sudden spurt in cases, are seen gradually returning.

Buses arriving at the city's interstate bus terminals (ISBTs) -- Anand Vihar and Kashmere Gate- are seeing half of their total seats being occupied by these migrant labourers.

When ANI team visited the Anand Vihar ISBT, a lot of daily wage labourers, comprising majority of migrants standing about in groups said they had no option but to come back to Delhi to work as they were facing serious financial crunch back home.

Mohammed Wasim, from Budaun in Uttar Pradesh, was waiting at the terminal for a share auto to take him to Chandni Chowk where he works as a rickshaw puller. "I have no money left to feed my family anymore and had to come back. I know the lockdown is still on and will not get that many passengers. However, even if I manage to get three or four passengers, it will be helpful for me."

Wasim has a wife and three children in Budaun.

Others who were standing around at the bus terminal like Wasim also had similar stories to share and expressed hope that the lockdown curbs will be lifted by the end of the month.

At Kashmere Gate, a few passengers who alighted from a bus, which arrived from Punjab said they were employed in a cardboard packaging unit in Delhi.

One among them Anup Kumar said, "I am coming back from my hometown in Jaipur. I have been following the news diligently and found that the cases have been going down. My friends who stay in Jaipur and work in the same factory decided to return. Even if we do not go to Punjab, I can earn in Delhi and send money to my mother."

However, the Old Delhi Railway station opposite the Red Fort which on regular days is crowded with labourers and people from various walks of life wore a deserted look with only a few coolies sitting on the platforms and a handful fo passengers going through security screening.

Hari Kumar, one of the coolies said "Lockdown days are tough for people like us who completely depend on day to day earnings to feed our families. However, lockdown like curbs will now end soon and things will return to normal."

Lakhs of migrant labourers headed back toward their hometowns after Delhi resorted to lockdown following sharp surge in cases in April 2021.

More than eight lakh migrant workers left Delhi during first four weeks of lockdown imposed by Delhi governmet to curtail the spread of coronavirus amid it's second wave according to a report from the Delhi Transport Department.

Meanwhile, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Friday said, "This lockdown will last till Monday, 5 am. We will begin the unlocking process. Construction activities and factories will be reopened from Monday keeping the daily wage workers in mind." (ANI)

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