Migrants Continue to Walk From Karnataka Even After Trains Resume

Most migrant workers are walking with a limited amount of supplies and money.

Published16 May 2020, 04:29 AM IST
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2 min read

Jamuna sat by the highway holding her four-month-old baby, even though it was getting dark. She was tired of walking, having been on the road for six days. Along with her husband and four others, she had covered more than 100 km to reach the Andhra Pradesh border, only to be sent back by the police.

She said she had no option but to walk since there were no operational trains to Odisha. "We registered online a while back, and the police gave us these documents," she said, pulling out documents kept inside a cloth bag. "But since our (Odisha) government has not given any permission for trains, we have no choice but walk," she added.

Jamuna with their child. 
Jamuna with their child. 
Photo: Arun Dev/The Quint

While in Jamuna's case no train was available, many others were unable to get a ticket despite the ‘Shramik’ train services resuming. Close to three lakh workers in Karnataka have registered for these special trains services, with less than one lakh managing to get on them till now.

In some cases, the authorities didn't issue tickets due to 'technical reasons'. Like in the case of Krishna Kumar Singh from Uttar Pradesh, who says because his owner didn't sign a document, he was not allowed to register for the train.

Krishan Kumar Singh, a migrant worker, showing his documents. 
Krishan Kumar Singh, a migrant worker, showing his documents. 
(Photo: Arun Dev/The Quint)

"When we came to know that trains are running we went to an internet cafe and got the form filled up. When we went to the police station, they said we needed to get a signature from our company owner on a document. Our owner is not ready to give the signature, so we have no option but to walk," he said.

Most migrant workers are walking with a limited amount of supplies and money. With their patience running out, they say it's government apathy that has brought them onto the roads. "Show me someone who has received a single penny from the government. If we had got help, won't we be sitting in our rooms and eating? It's not like we are getting a kick out of walking like this," said Ramesh Chauhan.

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