In open violation of Central Govt directives, Admn fails to arrange buses for labourers

Migrant labourers marching on foot towards Lakhanpur to leave for their home States. -Excelsior/Pardeep
Migrant labourers marching on foot towards Lakhanpur to leave for their home States. -Excelsior/Pardeep

Migrant workers continue to march on foot

Avtar Bhat
KATHUA, May 14: In open violation of Union Home Ministry’s directives that no stranded labourer should be allowed to leave by foot to his or her home State but the administration of respective districts in the country should arrange the vehicles for them and till making of such arrangement the concerned authorities in the district should provide free food and shelter to them, hundreds of laborers from different districts of Jammu region are daily reaching Lakhanpur, the gateway of J&K on foot or on bicycles to leave for their home States with no one in the administration bothering to stop them in the way from Jammu to Lakhanpur or arrange vehicles for them.

Click here to watch video
Instead of taking care of the migrant laborers from other States stuck in Jammu region, the administration has failed to arrange vehicles for them and for last two days about 300 labourers from Lakhanpur left for the States of UP, MP and Uttarakhand in private vehicles by paying Rs 2000 to Rs 2500 fare per passenger.
Frustrated over losing the work and sitting idle for last two months coupled with the worry and homesickness continuously haunting them, hundreds of migrant labourers from different areas of Jammu regions started their march on foot towards Lakhanpur. Some even purchased second hand bicycles to leave for their home States as the transport was not available.
These labourers said that the J&K administration failed to arrange transport for them despite repeated requests. “No one heard our woes in the administration either at Jammu or here”, said Ram Bihari, a labourer from UP. Lambasting the Government, he said no arrangement has been made for labourers despite tall claims are made that free buses and trains will be run for stranded laborers all over the country..
He said trains come here from different parts of the country and they return empty but laborers are not being sent in them. This shows how much the Government is concerned for the welfare of labor class, he added.
Bihari said it is very difficult for poor people like him to pay the fare which varies from Rs 2000 to Rs 2500 per person from here to our home States but what alternative is before them and they have to pay the same by arranging the money somehow. “The money which we had with us has been spent totally”, he added.
Laxmi Kumar another worker from MP who had reached Lakhanpur by this evening from Jammu said he along with other labourers from his home State wants to return as the paddy crop plantation season has started. “
“We were idle here for two months due to lockdown and now we want to work in the fields at least to produce some food grains to feed ourselves. Last time our wheat crop has also been damaged and now we hope that we will have a good paddy crop this season”, he added.
Kumar said as the memory of children and other family members as well as homesickness terribly haunts them so they will return at any cost even by paying as much fare as the transporters will demand. “How long we will wait whether Government comes to our rescue or not as we are idle here for last two months and no body came to our help during this period”, he added.
Ram Yadav, another laborer from UP said the trains are returning from here empty and if trains could be stopped at Kathua Railway Station as about 3000 laborers are trapped here alone and they could be easily boarded in them to leave for their home States. But Government failed to do this, he regretted.
He said the laborers have to return whether by transport or by foot as they can’t stay any long here and face starvation. “We are worried for our families and they are also concerned for our welfare as people have been scared by spread of COVID -19 in the country and our children want us to be with them now”, he added.
He said some laborers had even no money to return and they somehow managed it after their family members credit the money in their accounts which they withdrew through ATMs to pay bus fare.
About 400 labourers had assembled at Lakhanpur yesterday evening who reached here from Jammu, Samba and other parts of Kathua district to leave for their home States. When the authorities showed their inability to arrange buses for them majority of these labourers left for Kathua while over one hundred of them who had come from Jammu and Samba stayed at Lakhanpur for night.
After arranging buses by themselves, today about 200 laborers left in four private buses towards their home States from Lakhanpur while over 200 labourers are to leave tomorrow, sources said.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here