Most of the workers, who had arrived at Jawaharnagar for construction work from West Bengal, say that there is very little work to do and wages are scarce.

A migrant worker at Jawaharnagar in Hyderabad
Coronavirus Migrant Workers Wednesday, May 20, 2020 - 08:43

Around 32 workers from West Bengal living inside the premises of Hyderabad's main dumpyard at Jawaharnagar say that they are desperate to go home but are yet to receive any intimation from authorities.

"Will we be sent home only after the lockdown? It has been two months and we're tired of waiting. People from the other states have already left but all of us from West Bengal are still here and waiting for our turn," says Dilip, the frustration evident in his voice.

Most of the workers, who had arrived for construction work from Malda district, say that there is very little work to do and wages are scarce.

"We get work maybe twice or thrice a week, and we get paid around Rs 400 to Rs 450 for eight hours of work. But if there is no work, then we don't get anything. The contractor is supposed to feed us but he has not made any arrangements. We are cooking and managing somehow," says 30-year-old Philiman.

"As soon as the trains began, the people from Bihar and Uttar Pradesh managed to leave. Those who didn't get trains, started walking or booked trucks. We barely have any savings and going by truck to West Bengal will cost too much. Trains are our only hope," he adds.

The workers say that they have already visited the police station several times asking if their turn would come soon.

"After four rounds, they gave us a slip on May 5 and asked us to keep it safely and said this would be like our train ticket. I have been carrying it with me everywhere and not letting it out of my sight," says Dilip, as he pulls out a folded piece of paper from his shorts and shows it to this reporter.

"It has been so long since I've seen my family. I can't even afford a smartphone. I can only hear their voices and they're asking me to come back for good. I miss them. If the train doesn't come soon, I will begin walking and I don't care if I drop dead on the highway. At least my body will reach home then," he adds, the frustration in his voice turning into anger.

When TNM approached the Jawahar Nagar police station, several migrants were seen anxiously queuing up with their luggage, waiting to go home.Some like Kishan, a native of Bihar, had walked around 7 kilometres from the Birla Institute of Technology & Science (BITS) Pilani - Hyderabad campus in Shamirpet.

"We are running trains every day. So far around 800 workers have gone home from our jurisdiction alone. We are making arrangements to send everyone free of cost. Sometimes there is a delay because the recipient states may need some time to make arrangements. We will ensure that every person who wants to go home will reach safely," Jawahar Nagar Station House Officer (SHO) P Bikshapathi Rao told TNM.

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