Following MHA order, 200-odd migrants at shelter homes in Chandigarh, P’kula look forward to going back home
It has been a month since 500-odd migrant labourers walking back to their native places on foot, owing to the mass exodus amid the Covid-19 lockdown, were housed at shelters...
It has been a month since 500-odd migrant labourers walking back to their native places on foot, owing to the mass exodus amid the Covid-19 lockdown, were housed at shelters homes in Chandigarh and Panchkula.
So far, 10 migrants from Chandigarh, and 336 from Panchkula, have gone back to their homes after authorities tied-up with their respective states.
Currently, there are around 60 inmates putting up in Chandigarh and 120 in Panchkula.
They have no complaints, but a unanimous request; for an arrangement to made so they can go back to their native places.
A month after millions of people, mostly migrant workers were stranded without work in different parts of the country, the Union home ministry on Wednesday finally allowed states to repatriate them to their respective states.
The only condition that the home ministry has imposed for such inter-state travel is that the government of states, from where these people begin the journey and the government in the destination state, should clear the trip.
Panchkula deputy commissioner (DC) Mukesh Kumar Ahuja said the administration is working to get the remaining labourers back to their native places. “A meeting for this was held with officials concerned and we will soon initiate the next step of the process. I have come across recent orders from the MHA and will go through it with other officials. The administration will go as per guidelines issued by the central government and will take up the matter accordingly, on Thursday.”
Hotam Singh, a 22 –year- old labour from Rajasthan, putting up at a Chandigarh shelter home, says he worked in Mullanpur, 35 km from the city, and was walking towards his native place on foot, before he was brought to the facility. “If I was at home, I could have earned for my family, instead of sitting here idle,” he adds.
Another inmate, Manmohan Singh, whose family is in Badayun, Uttar Pradesh, says his wife and three-year-old child, are alone there. Even he wishes to reunite with his family.
Also stuck with them, is 26- year -old Anita, who says her four children are alone in UP. “I am living here with one of my children. I cannot sleep thinking what my other kids are doing alone in UP. It’s a nightmare for me.” She adds.
Most of them had no complaints about the arrangements. They get food, tea from time-to-time and have access to TV. They are visited regularly by a doctor and yoga instructor from a local varsity.
Rajiv Tiwari, nodal officer of Chandigarh said, “The Chandigarh administration set-up a shelter home for stranded migrant labourers on March 29, and they have been looked after well since then. But now, they want to go back to their native places, especially after their stranded friends and relatives in Ambala were shifted to UP on Tuesday. We have 60 migrants staying at the shelter home here, 37 are from UP, seven from West Bengal, seven from Rajasthan and eight from Bihar.”
“We have received updated guidelines from ministry of home affairs and the course of action will be decided after discussion with higher authorities,” he said.
The UT administration had setup a facility to house 140 migrants following the Centre’s order. But, reported only 70.
In Panchkula, 454 such persons were housed at 12 different shelter homes, of which 336 have been sent back by arranging buses to states including UP, Himachal Pradesh and Punjab. Now, only 118 odd migrants are left, including 42 origami artists, natives of Badarpur in Delhi.
Damodar, 58, says they were kept well. “But, in this scenario, I don’t want to live here,” he says.
Duli Devi, 35, who is stuck here with five children, aired a similar sentiment.