An Indian Express report has noted that many people have been seen waiting at the bus stations of Delhi, waiting for transportation as they plan their temporary departure from the city. A migrant worker Ashok told the IE that in the wake of night curfew and a significant surge in Covid-19 cases in the national capital has made them leave the city. At least till the viral situation gets better in Delhi, many workers are planning to leave and come back when cases are under control.
Looks like the fear from the last lockdown has set in for the people who work on a fixed daily wage; with impositions of curfews, they do not want to suffer the way they did last year as the work has almost stopped. Since the Delhi government has announced a night lockdown and cases are not reducing, the workers fear the unpredictability in the situation and worst – them not getting paid. As it gets difficult to feed families with zero income, workers are now moving back to their hometowns in search of work nearby.
According to Northern Railway, media reports about migrant workers going home due to Covid-19 are not correct. ”We had done a walk-through at New Delhi Railway station to check if there is any kind of rush or not. I request media to visit all our stations& show the truth,” said Deepak Kumar, CPRO, Northern Railway on Friday.
Another issue faced by workers is the reduction in jobs as well as money. A 27-year old worker Sudhir, according to the report, highlighted that there may be a possibility of a situation where their money runs out and they are stuck in a city with no work. Sudhir added rushing back home and having a chance to sustain back at their hometowns deem fit. Living in cities will lead them to exhaust their savings every day.
It is to note that this has not become a large-scale movement, however, people working at Kashmere Gate and Anand Vihar ISBTs are witnessing some rush and are expecting the crowd to increase in the coming days. Citing a manager of a UP state transport bus at Anand Vihar, the report said that the demand for buses to Uttarakhand and UP has increased. Many people are also apprehensive about restrictions on inter-state travel and they fear that they will be stuck again.
Meanwhile, some people who came to Delhi after the lockdown was restricted are again going back home as they failed to get a steady job. With no job security and the Covid-19 situation worsening, some have decided to go back to their home towns permanently.