Trudging 1,000 km, UP-bound labourers get help in Amritsar - ECAS Punjab

Trudging 1,000 km, UP-bound labourers get help in Amritsar

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GS Paul

Tribune News Service

Amritsar, May 9

Carrying her two-year-old daughter in her lap, Chandravati accompanied her husband Sanoj and decided to walk back to her native village in Uttar Pradesh from Jammu. Desperate, they were forced to take the extreme step of covering 1,055 km on foot as there was no end in sight to the ongoing crisis due to the Covid lockdown.

With them were 10 others who also migrated to Jammu from Uttar Pradesh. Claiming the Jammu and Kashmir authorities refused to arrange transport, they reached Amritsar after covering 220 km in four days during the wee hours today and were intercepted by the local police.

Sanoj migrated to Jammu from Khalilabad village in UP to work as construction labourer for a living during the last winter. He was earning Rs 300-350 daily and was carrying on with life till the past one and a half months when the lockdown was imposed.

He said his wife joined him just two months back as they were to pay obeisance at the Mata Vaishno Devi shrine.

“We could not visit the temple. With no work and earnings exhausted, we decided to move out. The Jammu Kashmir Government refused us transport, so we decided to walk down and started our journey on May 4. Reaching the Punjab border, we were offered lift for some distance by a tractor-trailer. We covered many kms on foot and reached Amritsar around 2.30 am,” he said. Desperate to go back, Chandravati is worried about her two kids who stayed back in UP. “We both got stuck in Jammu. The crop that was ready to harvest remains unattended. God knows if we will be able to survive,” she said.

Another UP migrant Shree Charan said with no arrangements, around 40 more labourers were following them in separate groups walking down towards UP.

“The Jammu officials gave us 5-kg rice just for once for the sake of getting their pictures clicked,” he said. The in charge of Vallah police station, Mukhtiar Singh, who was on a round at a vegetable market, spotted them. “We arranged food and later shifted them to Radha Soami Bhawan for stay. We will also make arrangements to send them back by train tomorrow,” he said.



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