Lakhs of stranded migrants from Panvel are now hoping to return to their hometowns after the government announced travel arrangements to the respective states. These migrant workers are now turning to social activists, police personnel, and civic officials for help.
“We just came to know that we can go to our home but have no idea how. Hence, we got in touch with social activist Deepak Singh who has been supplying food grains to us for the past 15 days. He explained the procedure of approaching the police and getting the form filled for travel,” said Brajesh Mishra, 45, from Madhubani in Bihar.
Singh said that since the announcement, he has been getting panic calls from migrants. “They want to know where to get the form, what the charges will be, and train timings,” he said.
Nodal officers have been appointed to get the forms filled and the police have been coordinating with migrants. On Sunday, more than 500 migrants flocked to Kharghar police station to collect travel forms.
“Since morning the queue of migrants is not ending. We have ensured that they follow social distancing norms,” said an officer from Kharghar police station.
Subodh Rana, 30, a migrant from Jharkhand who used to work at a construction site in Kharghar, said, “I have been stuck here for so long. Though we could manage food, life has been difficult as there are many other requirements as well. Now that information is out that we can go, I am sure somebody will reach me with details of what to do,” he said.
Rana has been staying with 15 other migrants at an under-construction building in Khargar.
While many want to go back, some labourers want to stay in the city. “We have been helped and are given everything for survival. We are sure this phase end. Also, I don’t want to be in the quarantine center once we reach our hometown as the probability of getting infected is high. I feel safer here,” said Subodh Kumar, 40.
Sundeep Sharma, a political activist, and social entrepreneur said, “The migrants are being sent home and necessary arrangements are made. Only those people must be sent. The trains are being run from all major stations and it is important to manage the crowd.”
Jameer Lengarekar, additional commissioner, Panvel City Municipal Corporation (PCMC), said, “We have spread the word about forms being available with the circle and nodal officers for different states. People can take the forms and fill all the details if they wish to travel.”