Coronavirus India: ‘No migrant worker to return on foot,’ says UP CM Yogi Adityanath

ST Staff
Friday, 8 May 2020

Many migrant labourers – young and old – have begun walking towards Uttar Pradesh due to unavailability of affordable transport.

With the coronavirus lockdown extension, many migrant workers stranded in different states, are hoping to be able to return home. While some have been able to use the special trains and busses organised by State government, a majority of the migrant labours have started walking towards their hometowns. 

To alleviate the problems of the migrant workers, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, on Friday, released a directive statement for the state officials. Addressing the officials, he said, “no migrant labourer should walk back home to UP on foot from big cities like Delhi amid the coronavirus pandemic.”

A statement from the CM’s office also said, “(The government) has been actively engaged in bringing them (migrants) back safely.” 

He also took to Twitter to refrain people from travelling on foot 

 

Many migrant labourers – young and old – have begun walking towards the Uttar Pradesh due to unavailability of affordable transport. Consequently, a lot of migrant traffic is also seen on state borders, as the country continues to be in a locked-down state, to check the spread of the pandemic.

“The chief minister has issued categorical directions to the officials to ensure that no migrant labour returns to the state while travelling on foot. He assured that the state government has been actively engaged in bringing them back safely,” read a statement issued by the chief minister’s office.

Incidentally, on Thursday, 172 migrant labourers hailing from Delhi and Noida, were stopped by the UP police on a highway in west UP’s Bulandshahr. The migrants were expected to be heading towards the state capital – Lucknow, which was at a distance of 514 km. These people were later taken to a college in the area and given food. The local administration has now promised to arrange busses for the workers to send them home. 

Around hundreds of workers walking home from Delhi, Haryana and Rajasthan were also stopped by the police in Firozabad (West UP) on Thursday. These were also taken to a nearby college and are expected to leave for home today.

But the services for the migrant workers come at a price. The workers alleged that the help on the highway has come at a steep price, which is not affordable. 

Nitin Goswami, accompanied by his wife and a two-year-old, told NDTV, “We are coming from Rajasthan’s Alwar. We found a truck, but the driver asked for money. He took Rs 100 for a 10-km journey. But the cops stopped the truck, and we were taken off the truck. We thought some proper food arrangements would be made, but just some rice pulao was given to us in limited quantities.”

Though the State government has bought around five lakh workers on state-run busses and are expecting around 2-lakh more on the Shramik special trains. Many are still being forced to walk back home as they are unable to afford the state-run services. 

Meanwhile, to address the issue of the incoming traffic in the State, CM Adityanath has also directed the officials to find employment for the workers based on their skill set. 

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