Gujarat: Stuck migrants gear up for home states return

Stranded migrants in Gujarat gear up to return to home states

The migrant workers in Gujarat, who have been finding it difficult to survive as they were left with no source of income ever since the lockdown came into force over a month ago, are now gearing up to go back to their native places after the Centre decided to allow them to do so.

The Centre's decision has brought cheer to the migrant workers, who were stuck in the state and facing different kinds of hardships. Many of them struggled with loneliness and became homesick as they were away from their loved ones.

Officials said that following the issuance of guidelines for the inter-state movement of stranded people by the Centre on Wednesday, the Gujarat government stepped up its efforts to send back the migrant labourers, who are mostly from Uttar Pradesh.

In Ahmedabad, the stranded migrants have already started packing their bags to return home.

"Life became very difficult for me and my family after the lockdown as I was left with no money. I used to earn around Rs 13,000every month. But, there has been no income since over a month now," said Shyam Singh, a native of Morena in Madhya Pradesh, who is currently living in Ranip area of Ahmedabad.

"Though we were eager to go back home, it was not possible. I even borrowed money from my friends to meet the daily expenses," Singh, who sells children's apparel on his bicycle, said.

He said he was glad that they were now allowed to go back to their home state.

"I can at least do some farming there to help my family. I have already packed the luggage for the journey. If I find some better work in my home state, I do not wish to return here," he added.

Kulbhushan Sharma, a native of Agra in Uttar Pradesh, sells panipuri in Chandlodia area of the city.

He said he has been surviving on whatever savings he had kept aside.

"I once thought of walking to Agra. But, my family back home asked me to wait. I am glad that the government has now understood our pain. It's not always about money. Many of us are actually feeling lonely here. We can deal with such situation in a better way if we have the company of our relatives and family members," he said with tears in his eyes.

According to officials, apart from such migrants scattered in different parts of the state, around 4,000 others are kept in shelter homes, who are waiting for their return.

Additional Chief Secretary, Labour and Employment, Vipul Mitra, said that around 4,000 migrant workers kept at various shelter homes in the state will be sent back to their home states soon.

Of them, around 2,300 are from Uttar Pradesh alone, while others are from neighbouring states like Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra.

"We have already started the process to send 500 labourers to Maharashtra in the coming days. We will drop them at the border, from where, authorities of that state would ferry them into their buses. District collectors are also issuing permits to shift such workers in private buses with the help of local NGOs and industries," Mitra said.

"Since UP is far from Gujarat, we have urged that state to send thier own buses to shift 2,300 migrants. We have planned to send all the stranded migrants to their respective places in coming days," he added.