’20 a cursed year for migrant labours, toiled more to back home
—by a staff reporter
Kolkata, November 9: The root idea of returning their home blossomed in the advent of the month of March for all the migrant workers nationwide. Still, the gruesomeness was unknown to them, but a few, who safely returned home by 24th March.
About 4 crores of labours worked outside their state and 2 per cent of the total population of the country were abroad. Anyhow, approximately 70 thousand of the migrant labours managed to back home. Then the real battle to survive started for the rest of them. The government suddenly froze train services across the country with a single announcement where a reservation ticket takes at least a week to turn confirmed. Several states stopped their inter-state bus services. Lakhs of workers from Kerala, Delhi, Tami Nadu and Maharashtra became faint on getting no pass to back to Bengal.
Thousands of them gathered at Delhi bus terminals amid avid situation forgetting the risk of the dangerous virus just to meet their family but they experienced badly from the Delhi police. Later, the respective government arranged buses for them. Finding no alternative, hundreds of southern labours left for home on foot or on bicycles, and they run for 500-600kms that way. Sadly, many of them did not even know that they had left for their heavenly abode on the way. 14 were cut on a railway truck, everyone recalls. Men-women-children spent nights on road, without food, drinking water, and even more shameful that they were targeted by local police and the RPFs on their way.
Later, the central government and a few private NGOs came forward to send the workers back home and did available special flights to bring and send abroad workers. Somehow, the migrant workers experienced a one-in-a-lifetime experience in the pandemic. Anyhow God was there beside them as for almost all of them reached home and met with their family with tears of happiness in their eyes.