With Rs 200 in Pocket, Migrant Workers Walk Home From Bihar to WB

I was told that all of them were employed as construction workers at a college in Bihar’s Koderma district.

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My Report
2 min read

Video Editor: Puneet Bhatia
Producer: Aastha Gulati

On the road in Bihar’s Banka district, I chanced upon a group of migrant workers resting on the side of the road. Since the coronavirus lockdown has been extended till 3 May, I wondered what they were doing outdoors and where they were going.

I was told that all of them were employed as construction workers in Jharkhand’s Koderma. After the lockdown was imposed they were asked to leave by their employer. During the first nationwide lockdown, these workers were kept in the mandated 14-day quarantine as precaution.

Residents of Uttar Dinajpur in West Bengal, these workers have no choice left but to journey back home on foot – a home that is 240 km away from Banka.

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For workers, the extension of lockdown means no money, no food and no work. Given the uncertainty of future employment, they thought it was better to go back home even if that took days.

“Our employer said that there is no money right now for expenses and we had to make do with whatever we already had for the next 14 days. So we thought to leave and go as far as we can. We sit near a tree, wherever there is shade to rest. We hydrate and eat a biscuit maybe. Then we start walking again for an hour or 1.5 hours. That’s how we have been travelling.”
Vinay

These workers are walking 60 km a day with only Rs 100 to 200 in their pockets. When I asked why they were moving in a lockdown, a labourer replied,

“There are no people where we used to work. There’s nothing to eat or drink, no ration. When we ask for it in shops they say it’s not available. That’s why we left from there.”

Sanjay said he wants government to help them in getting back home. For them the worry is not so much coronavirus but the loss of livelihood. After all, where will they go? Whatever little money they have, they have spent on the way.

Like Vinay and Sanjay, news headlines show several migrant workers in crisis, whether in Delhi, Mumbai or Surat. If this reaches the government then I would like to appeal to them to pay attention to these workers and release an economic package that helps them sustain their families in this tough period.

(All 'My Report' branded stories are submitted by citizen journalists to The Quint. Though The Quint inquires into the claims/allegations from all parties before publishing, the report and the views expressed above are the citizen journalist's own. The Quint neither endorses, nor is responsible for the same.)

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