Desperate for a Ticket, Migrants Crowd Police Stations in B’luru

“How many days can we wait?” With no proper guidance on process, migrants are reaching police stations for tickets.

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Coronavirus
3 min read

Video Editor: Kunal Mehra

Even though Shramik trains have restarted to transport migrant workers stranded across the country back home, the crisis is far from over.

While many sets of migrants are continuing to walk back home from Bengaluru, those who decided to stay and wait for trains, are suffering due to lack of information and clear directions on the process of acquiring a ticket.

“We don’t even know how to get a ticket. We thought if we come and stand in line at the police station, we might be able to get one. But we get chased from one station to another,” said a Sanjay, a migrant worker from Jharkhand.

Confused and desperate over not being able to secure a ticket even weeks after registering on the Seva Sindhu app and not hearing back, migrant workers are lining up in hordes at police stations. All they hear from the police is to come only when they receive a message or call. But hundreds of these migrants have heard nothing so far.

  • Migrants outside Marathahalli police station 
  • Migrants outside HAL police station
  • Migrants outside HAL police station

After the transit centre at BIEC shut down on 19 May, migrants have been left to the mercy of the system. Several relief organizations have reported migrants spending their nights on the roads while shelters lay empty.

Lack of Information & Order

Multiple migrants The Quint met expressed confusion over the process of acquiring a ticket. While some believed that tickets were being distributed at the police station following registration on the Seva Sindhu app, others joined the queues without registering at all.

According to local police, once a migrant has registered with the app, they need not visit the police station until they are summoned. “We have been coming to the station for the last 5 days. Today we were evicted from our rooms, where are we supposed to go now. We did not know we had to keep a copy of the registration with us, and now they are saying they don’t have it,” said Khushbu, a migrant worker from Jharkhand who was stuck in the city with a group of women.

While Khusbhu and the women managed to get seats on the train, not everyone is as lucky.

“30 of us had submitted our applications on 2 May. Till now there is nothing, no message and no call,” said Sarvesh Kumar, from Jharkhand. Some construction workers from Odisha, said that while many of their fellow workers had left on trains already, a small group has been left behind.

“We have rooms for now but what happens when the employers throw us out,” asked Koshalya, from Odisha.

‘Will Start Walking if Government Doesn’t Provide Trains’

Tired of waiting around for the elusive phone call or text message, many said that they would be forced to start walking back home, if the authorities were not responsive.

“If the government doesn’t give us trains, we will have to go walking. If we can’t go, we will die on the way. We’ll die of hunger.”
Kundan Mandal, migrant worker from Bihar

“How people are spending day by day in poverty only we know. It is easy to say, but only we know how we are surviving,” said Khushbu.

Activists in Bengaluru also said that the migrants were now gathering at bigger BBMP shelters like the Manpho convention centre and the Tennis Pavilion at Palace Grounds, where the BBMP was providing food, shelter, electricity etc.

Police at Marathahalli police station said that those found sleeping outside the stations, those with families were looked at with special care, and accommodated first.

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