Screengrab of a video showing thousands of migrant workers gathered at Bandra station, Mumbai. | Image Courtesy: NDTV
Thousands of labourers, mainly from North India, reached Bandra station on Tuesday again hoping to board a train to their home states, but had to return disappointed owing to the lack of registration. A similar episode had taken place before on April 14.
Even as the nation has entered the fourth phase of a lockdown—albeit with some relaxations—Western Railway planned to run Shramik Special Train on Tuesday for labourers from Bandra Terminus of Mumbai to Purnia of Bihar. The train was scheduled to depart at 12 pm. By 10 am, hundreds of labourers had started thronging the Bandra station. They stood on the bridges and roads near the station.
They were demanding that they be allowed to board the train. But, only 1,700 labourers—who had registered with the state government and had received a call from the administration—were allowed to board. As the number of workers started increasing, the city police rushed to the spot.
"The bonafide passengers were checked and allowed to enter the station by state machinery and the train left Bandra Terminus at about 12 noon with 1,700 labourers and their families who were entitled to travel," Ravindra Bhakar, Chief Public Relation Officer of Western Railway was quoted as saying by PTI. Later, Mumbai Police made an appeal to the workers who had not been called by the authorities to go back.
The frustration of the migrant workers, most of whom have been stuck in the state from March 22 without their jobs, was palpable during this episode.
Also read: COVID-19: Caught Between Employers and State Apathy, Migrant Workers in Gummidipoondi SIPCOT Finally Find Shelter