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Sunday, May 31, 2020

For many, all hopes pinned on ride home

Over 11,000 migrants from Delhi and neighboring states poured into Ghaziabad’s Ramlila Maidan on Monday to register for a place on six trains being operated by the district administration — three heading to Bihar and three to Eastern UP.

Written by Amil Bhatnagar | Noida | Updated: May 19, 2020 8:06:03 am
For many, all hopes pinned on ride home From early Monday morning, thousands of migrants could be seen standing in queues, waiting for a turn at the crowded registration counter. (Express Photo by Vishal Srivastava)

Sanju Bai’s one-year-old son hasn’t stopped crying for half an hour. To calm him down, she points to a government official and says, “Look, sir will get us our ride home.” Bai and her family have walked more than 300 km over the past five days from Punjab’s Sangrur to Delhi to Ghaziabad, hoping for a ride to their hometown in Panna, Madhya Pradesh.

Bai was among the 11,000-plus migrants from Delhi and neighboring states, who poured into Ghaziabad’s Ramlila Maidan on Monday to register for a place on six trains being operated by the district administration — three heading to Bihar and three to Eastern Uttar Pradesh.

An order in this respect was circulated two days ago, and as news travelled, stranded migrants from Rajasthan, MP, Punjab, Haryana, Delhi and Noida started heading to the large ground in the hope of an elusive ticket home.

From early Monday morning, thousands of migrants could be seen standing in queues, waiting for a turn at the crowded registration counter. Despite videos showing the crowd jostling to register, done on a first come, first served basis, the administration maintained the event was not mismanaged and the crowd boarded peacefully.

“It is a success for the administration that in a single day, 9,000 people were provided with passes, checked medically and boarded successfully on six trains. Yes, there was a crowd, but they were disciplined. There were no protests against the administration, and no clashes or scuffles. They cooperated, and we told them that they will get transport.

Those who are left will either be given trains or buses along with proper food,” said Ajay Shankar Pandey, DM Ghaziabad.

Eighteen-year-old Arun Kumar quietly went through a food packet in a corner, occasionally sanitising his hand. While most migrants moved about in groups, Arun had walked alone from rural Ghaziabad to find a place in the train so he could go home to East Champaran in Bihar.

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