A day before the Shramik Express carrying 1,188 migrant workers is scheduled to leave for Motihari in Bihar at 11am on Thursday (14th May 2020), around 1,500 migrant labourers crowded the railway ground near the station on Wednesday (13th May 2020).
On Sunday (10th May 2020), a train had left for Muzaffarpur in Bihar and another for Daltonganj in Jharkhand from Bathinda, carrying around 2,600 passengers in total. Thursday’s train will be the third ‘Shramik Express’ from the city. Usually, only passengers who get an SMS from the administration are allowed to board the train.
“With the crowd a potential health hazard, the administration managed to shift them to other places,” said Bathinda SDM Amarinder Singh Tiwana, adding that many of those who came on Wednesday were from Uttar Pradesh and Jharkhand.
“The Shramik Express stops only at the destination assigned to it. Over 1,500 had arrived on Wednesday itself and more are coming; around half of them were employed with the Guru Gobind Singh Refinery. We are mulling making other arrangements.”
Ajay Yadav of Bhojpur in Bihar said he had walked 30km to reach the station in the hope of going back.
The SDM added, “Despite our best efforts to allow only those who get the message to board the train, sometimes we have to get them to stand in a queue and take the required number to the station.”
1,200 leave from Amritsar
In Amritsar, around 1,200 migrants left for their native places on the 7th Shramik Express to Ambedkar Nagar in Uttar Pradesh on Wednesday. SDM Vikas Hira said, “All migrants were screened and given food packets. Around 8,000 have left since the trains started.” Of the labourers, 54 had come from Gurdaspur. A Shramik Express left for Kanpur (Uttar Pradesh) from Ferozepur, the first from the district, on Thursday at 7pm.
Mohali sends 1,304 home
The seventh special train on Wednesday left the Mohali railway station carrying 1,304 migrant workers back to Bettiah in Bihar. Of the labourers, 764 were from Mohali and 540 from Dera Bassi.
12 from Hoshiarpur start walk to UP; intercepted
Twelve migrant workers, out-of-work for two months, set out on foot for native Uttar Pradesh on Wednesday, only to be intercepted 25km away in Hoshiarpur city and sent back to their temporary abode. Ram Din, Raj Kumar, Nakul, Bharat and Avdhesh said they worked as daily wagers with the forest department and had registered with the administration for transport, but frustrated at not getting a call, decided to walk to their native place in Mahrajganj district of UP.