Migrant workers spotted leaving Noida, admin refutes COVID-19 link

Kishor Dwivedi
·2-min read

Noida (UP), Apr 13 (PTI) Scores of people, including women and children, were on Tuesday spotted leaving Noida for their hometowns on buses with many of them allegedly lamenting an uncertain future in the city amid an worsening COVID-19 situation, according to eyewitnesses.

Men and women carrying luggage were spotted near Noida's Sector 62 roundabout – adjoining Ghaziabad and leading to interiors of Uttar Pradesh – as they tried to cross over to the other side to catch privately-operated buses that were plying in full capacity.

While administration officials played down the situation, attributing the return of the migrant workers to their personal choice and factors like impending panchayat polls, official sources said the migration has been taking place for the last few days.

Saurabh Upadhyay said he was travelling from Noida to Ghaziabad on Tuesday evening in a car when he got stuck in traffic near National Highway 24 at Sector 62 of Noida.

“It was a similar sight of migrant workers holding bags and their belongings out on the road like last year when the lockdown was announced. Today, they were rushing to buses that were stopping near the Sector 62 roundabout. There were many people sitting on the roof of some jam-packed buses,” he told PTI.

A senior Gautam Buddh Nagar official, however, said that migrant workers have been leaving the city in small numbers in the recent days in apprehension of another lockdown, which could deal a blow to their livelihoods.

“Back at home at least they will have a certain future which they do not see here in cities and perhaps that triggers the panic. Here hospitals are also getting full and for them situation can only turn worse if they get infected with coronavirus,” the official told PTI on condition of anonymity.

There were similar reports of migrant workers leaving Noida and Greater Noida in Gautam Buddh Nagar district on Monday but the administration officials had refuted the claims.

Noida City Magistrate Uma Shankar said Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has himself clarified that there is not going to be any lockdown in the state.

“Some people going out is their personal choice. It could only be a rumour that they are going out because of fear of a lockdown,” he told PTI.

Sub-Divisional Magistrate (Sadar) Prasun Dwivedi said he had inspected the situation on the ground at Pari Chowk, which has a prominent bus stand, but 'nothing of this sort was found'.

“I had interacted with the travellers, many of whom said they were going to their homes because of village and panchayat polls or had a work contract here that ended,” he said.

Dwivedi maintained that no such report was received in Greater Noida on Tuesday as well and certainly nothing related to the lockdown. PTI KIS IJT