Gzb: Occupancy in shelter homes swells as cops pick up migrant workers from city roads – cities

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Ghaziabad:

A day after the Uttar Pradesh chief minister directed that no migrant worker should be allowed to walk afoot or boarding trucks for their home towns, the Ghaziabad police on Sunday brought in thousands of such people to various shelter homes set up across the city during the Covid-19 lockdown.

As a result, almost all the temporary shelter homes on Sunday were packed to capacity. However, the migrant workers who were picked up by the police complained of non-availability of food and poor basic facilities at these shelter homes. Some migrants were even brought to the Angel Mall in Kaushambi, officials said.

Mohammad Naseem, a migrant worker who is a native of Barabanki in UP, was picked up by cops and taken to the shelter home at a government school near Sahibabad railway station. He had come to the city from Shahdara in Delhi.

“I started from Delhi at 4pm, but was picked up by cops in Sahibabad and brought to the school where about 2,000 people are already there. They also misbehaved with me. The toilets at the school cannot cater to such a large gathering. Nobody is following the social distancing norms. Many women, some of them pregnant, are left in lurch as they are waiting for a bus home,” Naseem said, adding that the people are given only some bananas to eat.

Kaushal Pal, a pregnant woman from Auraiya district in UP who reached Ghaziabad from Maujpur, Delhi, was also brought to the school on Saturday night along with her two minor children and husband, a daily wager.

“We were hoping to get some bus or truck to our home town. But the cops brought us to the school around 9.30pm. I could not get food as it is distributed only to people who are at the main entrance of the school. There are people from UP and Bihar, with children and women sitting in the scorching heat. There is no social distancing here and we are scared if any one of us is Covid-19 positive,” she said on Sunday.

Senior police officials said that all the migrant workers are being made to stay at the shelter homes for some time, and the administration will arrange food and other essential services for them.

“We expect that the shelter homes are fully occupied as over 5,000 migrants were taken to these facilities in Kaushambi, Sahibabad and other city areas. The administration will arrange food and water for them. Also, we will arrange buses for them to take them to their respective home towns,” said Manish Mishra, superintendent of police (city).

When asked about the complaints of poor basic facilities at the shelter homes, district magistrate Ajay Shankar Pandey said, “We are making all the arrangements at the shelter homes and also trying to improve any shortcomings.”

Regarding the lockdown 4.0 that will come into effect from May 18 (Monday), Pandey, in a statement issued on Sunday, said that the current situation will prevail in the district till further instructions are received from the state government.

The cops even fined some taxi drivers found to carry migrant workers. “I was ferrying two migrant workers from a shelter home at Sukh Sagar Farm House in Kavi Nagar around 10am to Ghanta Ghar Ramlila Ground when some cops stopped me. They issued challan of Rs 1,300 and threatened to book me in a theft case. Then they shooed the migrants away,” said Sanjay Kumar, a private taxi driver from Shastri Nagar.

Migrants like Dileep Kumar, a native of Unnao who stays in Noida’s Sector 12/22, were lucky enough to reach up to Lal Kuan in Ghaziabad from Noida.

“Wherever the cops stopped us, we requested them to let us go. My two children are sitting on the cart which I use for selling vegetables and my wife is walking alongside. We had been going to administration offices in Noida for the past five days, but were driven away by cops. So, I decided to start the journey at 9am on Sunday,” Dileep said.

“We were 15-20 people and had booked a mini truck for Rs 15,000 for taking us to Unnao. But the cops did not allow us to move out when we started at 2am on Sunday. I was staying at a friend’s house as my landlord turned me out. We are dependent on local people for food and water,” he added.

The officials said that two trains were arranged for migrant workers to Bihar from Ghaziabad railway station.

“A train left on Sunday from Ghaziabad to Darbhanga in Bihar carrying 1,470 passengers. The second was bound for Purnia and will take along 1,420 migrants. In order to tackle the rush, on Sunday, we allowed even those to board the trains who had not registered online. But this is only for Sunday and a review will be done,” said Santosh Kumar Vaishya, additional district magistrate who is supervising the passenger operations at Ghanta Ghar Ramlila Ground.

Meanwhile, the administration officials on Sunday night said in a statement that there is a proposal of running three Shramik special trains that will leave Ghaziabad everyday for UP cities of Gorakhpur (via Lucknow, Barabanki, Gonda, Basti and Khalilabad), Varanasi (via Lucknow, Fatehpur and Prayagraj) and Azamgarh (via Lucknow, Barabanki, Faizabad, Akbarpur, Shahganj and Sarai Mir).

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