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Migrant workers go on tour in Mumbai and say they want to travel back home | India News


MUMBAI: Hours after Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the extension of the coronavirus-imposed blockade until May 3, large numbers of migrant workers earning daily wages hit the road in Mumbai on Tuesday demanding transportation arrangements to return to their places of origin.

Daily salaried workers have been out of a job since the closure was announced late last month to stop the spread of COVID-19, making their lives a constant struggle.

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Although the authorities and NGOs have arranged for their food, most of them want to return to their places of origin to escape the difficulties that the sweeps bring.

According to a police official, the daily wage earners, numbering around 1,000, gathered at the Bandra (west) suburban bus station near the train station and squatted down the highway around 3 p.m.

The daily wage earners, who reside for rent in slums in the nearby town of Patel Nagri, demanded the provision of transportation facilities so that they could return to their native towns and villages.

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Originally they come from states like West Bengal and Uttar Pradesh.

One of the workers, who did not disclose his name, said that NGOs and local residents are providing food to migrant workers, but want to return to their native states during the shutdown that has seriously affected their livelihood.

“Now, we do not want food, we want to return to our place of origin, we are not happy with the announcement (which extends the closure),” he said, looking downcast.

Asadullah Sheikh, who hails from Malda in West Bengal, said: “We already spent our savings during the first phase of the closure.” We have nothing to eat now, we just want to go back to our hometown, the government should make arrangements for us.

Another worker, Abdul Kayyun, said: “I have been in Mumbai for the past few years, but I have never seen such a situation. The government should start the trains to move us from here to our hometown.”

A strong police deployment was carried out at the protest site to address any adverse incident.

Staff from other police stations at the scene were called to maintain order, the official added.

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