As Delhi goes under lockdown, migrant workers scramble to leave national capital

New Delhi: As Delhi went into a six-day lockdown amid the deteriorating COVID-19 situation, hundreds of migrant workers thronged at the Anand Vihar Bus Terminal on Monday evening to board the buses for their native places.

Heavy traffic congestion was seen in several parts of the national capital, with passengers striving to reach their homes. The migrants had to wait for hours at the bus stop with no choice to maintain social distancing.

Many were seen walking out of the bus station with heavy loads on their heads and shoulders.
The migrant workers in Delhi, who could hardly afford a trip back home, were in for a surprise at Anand Vihar as they claimed of being charged 10 times more than the usual fare.

photo- ANI

“We’re daily wagers, the Chief Minister should have given us some time before announcing the lockdown. It takes us Rs 200 to reach home, but they are charging Rs 3,000 to Rs 4,000 now,how will we go home?” one of the migrant labourers asked while sitting on the ground after a long wait at the bus station.
Hundreds of migrant workers, including women and children, out of exhaustion were seen laying on the ground with their heads on sacks looking numbly at the hustles of the national capitals.

Many migrants climbed atop buses that were leaving the bus station.

The situation was no different at the Ghaziabad border as hundreds of migrant labourers had gathered there to return home by walk.

“There is no work for us and no landlord or government will help us during the lockdown. That is why we are leaving. If there is a further lockdown, we will not be able to survive,” one of the migrants said.

Another migrant, residing in Uttam Nagar and on his way to Kanpur, said “Lockdown can be extended. Last year many walked on foot. This time also the conditions look the same. Staying here in Delhi I’m not sure about getting food and water. I will come back after everything become normal.”

photo- ANI

Announcing the lockdown, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had earlier in the day appealed to migrant workers to not leave the city, stressing that the restrictions will be lifted as soon as possible.

“I appeal to all migrant workers to stay back. The lockdown will be in force for a brief period. I hope we won’t have to extend it. I have always opposed measures like lockdown, which cannot end Covid. It can merely slow down the spread of the infection. Over the next six days, we will beef up the medical infrastructure in the city in cooperation with the Centre,” Kejriwal had said.

Meanwhile, similar scenes were witnessed in Mumbai on Monday following the imposition of Section 144 in the entire state by the Maharashtra government in its effort to break the chain of coronavirus infections.