Yogendra Singh, a labourer, has been stuck in Jaipur’s Bagru for about 30 days now. A migrant from Etawah in Uttar Pradesh, he was working as a daily wage labourer in Rajasthan in order to build a better future for his family prior to the nationwide lockdown.
But now, all he can think of are ways to return home so that he can be together with his family again. Yogendra wants to return to familiar pastures where he can take care of his home and family members in these challenging times.
In this harvest season, there are many like Yogendra who wish to return to their home states so that they can take care of their crops which are ready for the harvest season.
Yogendra is like hundreds of migrant workers stranded inside a state-run school in Jaipur’s Bagru for the past one month, hardly 50 kilometres from the Secretariat in the state capital. These labourers, mostly men and some women, from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, are appealing to the state governments to facilitate their return home.
For them, away from home and yearning for their families, Labour Day has little relevance. The feeling of being let down by the governments of the day, of being left in the lurch, is conspicuous by its presence.
The Ministry of Home Affairs, under its guidelines, had mentioned that different categories including migrant labourers, pilgrims, students and other persons can return to their home states, provided that the respective states agree to it. However, there are tens of thousands of migrant labourers stranded in Rajasthan to this day.
In Bagru, part of Jaipur’s rural side, migrants had been grappling with various issues and are desperate to return to their home states. The state government had arranged for their stay and their food was being taken care of by locals donating to the cause.
Several of these workers mentioned that they had families and crops to take care of at home and their urge to return has been growing owing to constant phone calls from their kin. The labourers lamented that the governments of various states, including that of Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat, had facilitated the return of people but the labourers from UP and Bihar are still stuck as the respective state governments are yet to make necessary arrangements to facilitate their return.
However, several seemed hopeful that they will be able to return to their home states soon.
“There were no problems with regard to food for the labourers but we wish to return home as we want to be with our family members and to take care of our crops in this harvest season before they are destroyed,” a labourer told India Today. “I want to be with my family. My crops need attention too,” said another.
The Uttar Pradesh government has ensured the return of its students stranded in Kota by sending buses to the city.
However, thousands of labourers from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar are still stranded in different parts of Rajasthan. “The central government has agreed for our travel to Uttar Pradesh but the Yogi government in UP is yet to provide buses to take us back,” a migrant worker said.
“Most of the people have been staying over here for more than 20 days. They want to return to their home states. Arrangement for their food was being made by social workers who identify themselves as Bhamashahs. The central government has agreed to their return. They may leave in a day or two from here,” local supervisor Nahar Singh, Supervisor told India Today.