Twenty-four-year-old Satvir’s journey from Delhi to his hometown in Badaun in Uttar Pradesh met a roadblock like most of India’s poor – he was stopped, forced to stay in a shelter home, unlike other commuters crossing from Delhi to Noida.
Satvir was stopped at Delhi-Noida border on 18 May, when he tried to cross over with his wife and children. After being made to wait for hours, he was allowed to enter Noida with his family that evening but was asked to leave his Kulfi cart behind. When he requested Noida police to allow him to cross over with his cart, he was not stopped.
But that wasn’t all. From the border he was taken to a shelter home in Noida Sector 19. Satvir requested the police to let him go to his uncle’s place in Noida. But Noida police maintained that he would only be allowed to go if his uncle came to pick him up from the shelter home. Satvir’s uncle, an elderly man, couldn’t come to receive him, hence he was forced to go back to his home town in Badaun.
Two days later, when The Quint contacted Satvir, he had reached Badaun. He was happy to unite with his family but sad that he was not allowed to reach his uncle’s place in Noida in the hope for a better livelihood.
“I have no hope of getting my cart back. I wanted to go to my uncle and work with him in farm, that would have given us some earning. But police didn’t allow. They told me to call my uncle and receive me, else they won’t let me go alone. My uncle is old, he wouldn’t have come. Now I am going to my village, I will sow some crops to feed my children.”Satvir, migrant worker
After four years of toil in Delhi, Satvir’s only source of livelihood was a Kulfi-cart (Kulfi ka thela). At the same time, he also had a debt of Rs 30,000, the interest of which kept accumulating in course of the lockdown.
Like several other migrant workers in Delhi, he wanted to leave the national capital for lack of job, money, shelter and food.
He arranged for work at a farm with the help of his uncle in Noida, but little did he know leaving Delhi would cost him his cart.
‘We Did Not Allow Cart For Family’s Safety,’ Say Noida Police
On Saturday, 23 May, Noida Police issued a clarification saying:
“Satvir was not allowed to enter Noida with the cart because he was carrying his wife and the children in that cart that was totally unsafe for all of them, and against the law as well . He was rather told that he would be transported to his native place safely, but he was worried about his cart. He wanted his uncle to come and take the possession of the cart but his uncle did not turn up. So finally he handed over the cart to someone and went away. He, with his family, was then taken to a shelter home to make them comfortable and from there to their desired destination, that is their native place, in a roadways bus.Kumar Ranvijay Singh, Additional Deputy Commissioner of Police, Noida
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