Migrant workers leave for Bihar, but many still remain stranded in Delhi

New Delhi, May 8 (PTI) As his hopes for return home brightened after weeks of lockdown, Bihar-resident Manish Kumar borrowed Rs 5,000, packed his meagre belongings and rushed to the New Delhi railway station, but only to witness his 'dream' train chugging out leaving him behind.

The 24-year-old migrant labourer from Bihar could not board the first special train for stranded people between Delhi and Bihar's Muzaffarpur on Friday as, officials said, his name did not figure in the list of 1,200 fortunate ones.

Kumar, who along with two others shelled out Rs 500 to reach the station from Okhla in a taxi, is among many stranded labourers who had filled a required form so that they could be ferried back home, but could not make the cut.

Since Thursday, two 'Shramik Special' trains carrying stranded people, most of them migrant workers, left for Madhya Pradesh and Bihar. Most of those who managed to board these trains were from the shelter camps run by the Delhi government.

However, a sizable number still remains stranded in the national capital, with no jobs or place to stay.

Dejected, tired, walking in scorching heat, Kumar said, he along with his friend Aniket (22) and Mohammad Rabban (18), whom the two met during their walk from Okhla, had shelled out Rs 500 to reach New Delhi station.

'A person driving Wagon-R demanded Rs 500 in return of dropping us to the New Delhi station. Now, we have lost Rs 500 and can't even go back home,” Kumar, who had borrowed Rs 5,000 from a friend before leaving his house, said.

Rabban looked wearier and thirsty among the three. He sat down on the road and gulped water from his bottle.

Hailing from Motihari in Bihar, Rabban too hoped that he could board the train.

Pravin (16), who worked in a garments factory, was also aiming to go back. His name too was not in the list.

“We had filled an online form meant to ferry stranded people to their home states. It was successfully uploaded, but then I did not get any response. I thought, I will be able to board the train, but police said since I did not receive any message, I cannot travel,” Kumar said.

Kumar, who worked at an export-import firm in Okhla, was laid off by the owner after the lockdown was announced, saying he has no money to pay. His landlord started demanding money from him.

“With no option, I thought it is better to go back home,” Kumar said.

Back home, Kumar has a brother, sister, parents, wife and a child. His one more bother worked with him in the same firm.

Similar is the case with Aniket.

With no jobs, any place to stay, he too decided to go back home. But with the lockdown in place, they remained stranded.

“The two helplines for those stranded from Bihar do not work at all. With no money, we are struggling to make ends meet,” Aniket said. PTI PR PR SMN SMN