There was chaos outside the screening centres set up at two government schools in east Delhi and one in South on Wednesday after hundreds of Bihar-bound migrant workers reached these places to get themselves screened in order to board Shramik Special trains.
Although all of them had reached there after receiving a text message confirming their reservations,many of them were turned back by officials who said the trains were full and their names were not on the list.
At a school in east Delhi’s Vinod Nagar, the long queue of migrant workers continued till evening. While some of them were waiting for their turn since last night, many had reached there as early as 4am Wednesday. Displaying a confirmation message received on his phone last night, Navi Hasan, who was working in a garment factory in Gandhingar, said he left home at 1am. “I was waiting for this message for the past 10 days. I had no money to pay the rent and so I vacated the room and left for the screening centre immediately on receiving the message last light. I had to walk till here since I could not afford an auto-rickshaw. Now, they are asking me to return tomorrow. Where will I go for the night?” he said.
Shramik Special trains are being run to take migrant workers back to their home states under a special arrangement between state governments, according to the Union home ministry guidelines issued on April 29. The Union government bears 85% cost of travel, while the states foot the remaining 15%. Migrants have to apply online for a seat on these trains and they would then receive a confirmation message asking them to report to the screening centres from where the DTC buses will drop them to the Old Delhi railway station.
The migrants can also apply offline with the help of government help desks set up at shelter homes and subdivisional magistrate offices.
On Wednesday, many like Hasan queued up outside the schools with messages of reservation for trains to Darbhanga, Patna, Bhagalpur, Muzaffarpur and Saharsa. The messages were received between 12.55am and 2am Wednesday. “Your journey has been scheduled for May 20. The train will stop at BKM and buses will be provided for other districts near these stations. Food and other arrangements have been made. You are requested to come for screening on May 20 at 8am with your family and luggage,” read one of these messages.
Sitting on a pavement outside the school with her five-month-old son, an angry Ramvati Devi said, “Why did they send us a message if we were not supposed to leave today? No one considers us humans. My son is sick and we had come to Delhi for his treatment when the lockdown was announced. We have been staying at a relative’s place since then. Now they are also out of money. Where do we go now?”
For Arjun Sade, 25, who had walked from Haryana’s Panipat to Delhi to board a Shramik Special train to his village in Bihar’s Khagaria city, the journey seems never-ending. “I had applied for the train on Sunday and started walking from Panipat to Delhi. It took me two days to reach Delhi. Last night, when I was at Anand Vihar bus stand, I received this message and again I started walking towards the screening centre in Lajpat Nagar. Now, after standing outside this school for more than eight hours, officials are saying I can’t go home today. The battery of my phone is discharged. I don’t know how will I charge it to show them the message again,” he said.
A senior police officer in east Delhi, requesting anonymity, said, “There was some confusion on the part of the district administration as people had gathered in large numbers but names of only a few were on the administration’s list. However, police were not informed about any law and order problem.”
Arun Mishra, district Magistrate, east Delhi, said the administration did not send messages beyond the train capacity. “Many people gathered there showing forwarded messages. We have not issued so many messages. We do not know how so many people gathered there,” he said.
Southeast DM Harleen Kaur said the SMSes was sent to the appropriate number of passengers but many people get more persons as companions. “They will be taken to a shelter home in the district and will be given priority on Thursday’s train,” she said.
A Delhi government spokesperson said they have also got to know about a large number of people gathering outside the screening centres. “There is a possibility that many people have reached there with forwarded messages. We are looking into the matter,” the spokesperson said.
Back at the Vinod Nagar school, many stranded migrants were allowed inside by 7pm. “After standing in the heat for the whole day, now they have asked us to come in. My friends and I have requested them to drop us anywhere in Bihar and we will walk to our villages from there. Our families are waiting for us,” Harish Gautam, who worked as a labourer in Bhojpuri, said.
This article has been taken from Syndicated News via RSS Feed, DelhiCapital has not made any changes or alterations while publishing this news. Original News Source – Hindustan Times