As miseries mount, migrants stage protest

As miseries mount, migrants stage protest

Policemen try to control migrant workers after they blocked the national highway during a protest against the Punjab Government on Friday. Photo: Vishal Kumar

Charanjit Singh Teja

Tribune News Service

Amritsar, May 29

Migrants from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar blocked the Majitha-Verka bypass road here on Friday morning. The migrants said most of them were not able to pay the rent of their accommodations and take food. The landlords were asking them to pay the rent but they had nothing to pay. Some of the protesters claimed that they had no shelter as landlords got the rooms vacated from them.

A number of migrants said they were harassed by the authorities during the registration process before allowing them to board the train to their native places.

Pulkit, a migrant worker, said, “On Thursday, authorities conducted medical screening of migrants. We boarded a bus for the railway station. On the last minute, they were told that the train had been cancelled. There is no work here. The landlord got the room vacated. I want to go back home.”

Ramraj, another migrant, said, “I have been visiting here for the last four days but no train ply on these days. I left the room four days ago in the hope that I would get a train. Yesterday, the officials asked to stay in the ashram. Now I am staying with a friend.”

Mahesh Verma, an activist, said, “There is more than 2 lakh population of migrants in the city. Around 60,000 persons had registered to travel to home states. The administration has been sending 1,200 persons daily. It would take three months to arrange trains for all. How they will pay rents and take food. The government is not providing anything.”

Even the administration arranged the accommodation for migrants at gurdwaras and Radha Soami Satsang Beas centres.

When contacted Rajat Oberoi, nodal officer for Shramik express trains, said, “More than 35,000 migrants had returned home till date. Around 60,000 migrants had registered for the journey, but after the relaxation in the lockdown now they had resumed work and were not willing to return. We need 1,200 persons for any destination to run trains. We are not getting a sufficient number of migrants to run train.”

The official refuted the allegations of migrant leaders that the administration was harassing them. “We are in touch with all associations of migrants and all are satisfied with the services of the administration. Some self-style leaders gathered handful persons and demonstrated. Actually, there were only 80 persons who want to go to Chhattisgarh. We cannot arrange train for 80 persons, so contact other districts and labour working at brick-kilns. The train for Chhattisgarh would be arranged soon,” added Oberoi.

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