SASARAM: Strange are the ways of officials overseeing the arrangements for migrant workers’ journey back home amid lockdown.
Surendra Kumar, a 37-year-old man without legs, had to go to his native village in Sultanpur, UP. He was sent from Delhi to Patna, which took three days, and from Patna to Buxar and then to Sasaram by bus. At Sasaram, Kumar pleaded with the authorities that he had to go to Sultanpur, but to no avail. Finally, a group of social workers made arrangements to send him to his destination.
Even other migrant workers are being made to travel in circles, literally, before they reach their destinations. Take, for instance, the case of migrant workers from Delhi, Maharashtra, Haryana and other states coming to Sasaram by trains. Though the migrants belong to neighbouring districts like Aurangabad, Bhojpur and Buxar, they are not being sent directly to their destinations. Instead, they are sent first to Karamnasa at the Bihar-UP border, 70km away from Sasaram, from where they have to start their journey afresh in buses to reach their destinations in opposite direction while crossing Sasaram again. That way they have to cover 140km — 70km up and 70km down — unnecessarily. If sent directly to Aurangabad from Sasaram, they would reach their places in an hour only.
When contacted, Rohtas district transport officer (DTO) G Haque admitted it. “We are authorized to make arrangements for intra-district transportation of migrants from Sasaram. As per the protocol, those who have to go to neighbouring districts have to be sent to Karamnasa from where arrangements have been made for them to travel to their destinations,” he explained.
In another instance, a family belonging to Ramgarh in neighbouring Kaimur district had to cover several hundred kilometres unnecessarily to reach their village from Hyderabad where family patriarch Om Prakash Yadav worked as a cook in a hotel. He along with wife and two children were first sent by train to Banka. A bus then brought them to Araria from where another bus brought them to Sasaram. Again, the social workers had to arrange a private vehicle to take them to their home.
Senior deputy collector holding charge of the district disaster management authority, Mr Rizwan Qureshi, corroborated the Rohtas DTO’s statement and said as per the norms, migrant workers of other districts in Bihar are sent to Karamnasa from where they are provided transport facility for their destinations.