600 workers from far-off villages trapped in TN

Dr Jitendra takes up issue with Govt
Avtar Bhat
JAMMU, May 23: Though they had left their villages to travel to far off places in Tamil Nadu (TN) to earn some handsome money during the Winter months’ to meet out the expenses of their families in later part of the year, over 600 workers from various hilly villages in Kandi belt of Udhampur had never dreamt that instead of eking out their living they would lose their entire earning for feeding themselves during the lockdown period at their workplace.
Over 600 workers of different far -flung villages of Udhampur working as helpers in transport industry are stuck in various cities and towns in Tamil Nadu for last two months after the declaration of nationwide lockdown by the Government to fight the dreaded COVID-19 pandemic.
Despite their hard trial they could not get the transport facilities to return to their home town in J&K. Even one of the workers lost his father last month and to his ill luck he could not participate in his last rites or see his face at the last time. “I will repent for this during my entire life as I could not see the face of my father last time”, said Ved Parkash a resident of Sarad Chenani in Udhampur district who is working at Paldan Tirpur in Tamil Nadu as a transport worker for last five months.
He said these workers are facing many problems here as some of them have fallen sick and they even could not get the treatment due to lockdown. Parkash said that they had decided to return to their native villages in the month of April but after lockdown every thing changed and since then they are trapped.
Rinku Sharma, another worker who is working at Coimbatore, T N along with another 200 workers from Udhampur district said they have been making trips daily to Collector Office and Police Stations here in Coimbatore but no one gives satisfactory reply to them. “Even there is a communication gap as neither they understand our language nor we understand their which has further compounded our problems”, he added.
He said the workers are now facing shortage of money as they had to pay extra rent of room for two months and also arrange the meals during these two months to feed themselves while they remained totally idle during this period. “The money which we had saved for our families and to meet the expenses during other months of the year were exhausted by us in feeding ourselves during the lockdown period as neither Government nor any social organization provided any relief or ration to us”, he added.
He said the officers whom they met there fail to give them any satisfactory reply when they will be deported to J&K despite the fact that the train services were resumed to carry the stranded people from different parts of the country.
He said at Coimbatore 30 workers are sharing one room and this way they are unable to maintain social distancing also. Despite filling up on-line forms, some officers in Police Department informed us to wait for more time”, said Khem Raj.
Vijay Kumar, another worker from Mata Chenani in Udhampur district who is working at Erode Bus Stand in T N said that some officials earlier informed them that they will call after train is arranged but later no one turned up or contacted them.
Yog Raj, another worker from Lati Udhampur said that they contacted the leaders of almost all parties in Jammu seeking their intervention for repatriating them to J&K but all showed their helplessness. He said they are facing even shortage of money and in case they would have to stay for more period they would face starvation also.
Meanwhile, when contacted Union Minister, Dr Jitendra Singh who also represents Kathua, Udhampur, Doda Parliamentary Constituency said after the issue was brought in his notice he took it up with the concerned authorities in UT of J&K as well as TN and issued instructions to them for the immediate repatriation of these workers to their native places in J&K.
He said “Whenever the Union Government is receiving inputs about the trapped people including students not only in India but outside the country we don’t lose any time in bringing them back”. He said it is matter of few days that all stranded people including students will reach their homes as the Government is on the job.
However, after Excelsior contacted some top brass in administration bringing into their notice the plight of trapped workers of Udhampur district in TN who despite resumption of train service have not been not been lifted to return to their native villages till date, the authorities of their respective districts contacted these workers this morning asking them to report to the concerned police stations where from they will be boarded in buses to Chennai the capital of TN and from there they will board the train to Jammu tomorrow.
Apart from this there are hundreds of people trapped in other parts of country also who are unable to get the train booking or bus facility to reach J&K. Alone hundreds of people from J&K are trapped in different places in Greater Noida UP and despite trying their best they could not get the train ticket for Jammu, according to Abdul Rashid Rather of HMT Srinagar who along with seven members of his family are stuck at Greater Noida for last two months.
Rather said there was no response to his calls from the official Help Line numbers which he and his other members of family were trying for days together. He said the private transporters charge huge amount up to Srinagar which is not affordable by the family. Same were the views of other stranded people at Noida.