There is no day when one wakes up to a good news anymore and we should definately be deprived of it as long as we are comfortably ignorant of the plight of thousands of migrant workers in the country. While the priviledged class are busy cribbing about not checking into their favourite restaurants and catching up with friends, millions of migrant workers across the country are taking desperate measures to reunite with their families amid the COVID-19 lockdown, after their landlords threw them out and their meagre savings dried up. Also Read - Coronavirus in Karnataka: Health Minister Sriramulu Attends Procession, Social Distancing Norms Flouted | Watch
Unless you are living under a rock, you would be aware of the exodus of the migrant workers since the past two months and even as Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman breaks down PM Modi’s Atmanirbhar Bharat package of Rs 20 lakh crore, thousands of workers across India continue to walk to their far flung villages due to high rail fares or unavailability of forms or irresponsible management of the Shramik trains. Talking to IANS, Tiloki Kumar (32) shared, “I got myself registered for the Shramik train and waited for a week. No one called up and finally we decided to walk back home. It is better to die at home than in an unknown place.” Also Read - Cyclone Nisarga: PM Modi Speaks to CMs of Maharashtra, Gujarat; Assures All Possible Central Help | 10 Points
Tiloki from Pipraich in Gorakhpur, Uttar Pradesh, pleaded for a pair of slippers after his gave way and boils started bleeding on walking barefoot from Surat in Gujarat where he worked in a garment unit. “I have been walking barefoot and my boils are also bleeding. I still have to walk more than 300 kilometers.” Showing the boils and cuts on his feet, he told the news agency, “Khana to mil jayega, sahib ek purani chappal de do (Food can be fetched, please arrange for an old pair of slippers).” Also Read - Fielding Coach R Sridhar Reveals Training Module For Virat Kohli-Led Team India, Says Sharpest Minds Will Take Six Weeks to Get Ready For Test Cricket
Another migrant worker, Thakur, refused money for there was nowhere to buy the slippers. He revealed, “The sole of my shoe has come off so I have tied a piece of cloth over it. We can go without food for a day or two but walking is impossible in this condition.”
While a group of senior citizens reportedly bought slippers from a local shop and are giving them to migrant workers on the Lucknow-Barabanki road, a shoe shop owner on the outskirts of Lucknow – in Utaratia, decided to sell slippers at the cost price of Rs 60 per pair.
24 migrants were killed recently in Auraiya district of Uttar Pradesh and more than 30 were injured after the truck they were travelling in collided with another. Earlier, some 16 migrant workers sleeping on railway tracks in Maharashtra were killed after a goods train ran over them.
The heartbreaking pictures and stories of the plight of migrant workers, surfacing everyday, are enough to shake us out of our comfort zones and reach out to them with necessities and prayers on individual levels, showing that all compassion has not given way to apathy, yet!