Slammed by critics and Opposition parties, an embarrassed Karnataka CM BS Yediyurappa on Thursday reversed his decision to cancel all trains for migrant workers trapped in the state due to lack of work and wages following the outbreak of Coronavirus pandemic.
The government has now sent a request letter to the South Central Railways to commence operation of train services for migrant labourers to Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and Jharkhand.
But stung by Wednesday’s decision to cancel the train services, hundreds of migrant workers in Bengaluru began a long, in what might sound like an impossible. walk to Bihar, Jharkhand and Uttar Pradesh.
Local media cited the case of one Shivam Yadav, 30. Angry at the decision to cancel the train services, he packed his belongings and started walking from Bengaluru to Gorakhpur, a distance of over 2,000 km. Like Shivam, hundreds of migrants from UP, Bihar, Jharkhand and Bengal decided to start walking from Bengaluru on Thursday morning.
“We don’t know when we will reach or if we will find anyone who will give us a lift. But we know there is no work or food here. So what does a person do then?” Upendra Moria, a carpenter from Jhansi in UP, was quoted in the media.
After having walked about 20 km in the scorching sun, the police escorted many back to where they came from in special vehicles. On Thursday, Congress MLA Krishna Byre Gowda shared a video on Twitter showing a group of migrant workers walking home from Bengaluru to UP in the rain.
He tweeted: State Govt cancels trains. Thousands of people, in groups of 10/20, are just WALKING TO UP.@CMofKarnataka this is inhuman. They are so disturbed as to walk home, pls don’t force. Some may die. Govt cannot be the paid agent of real estate lobby. Send them well so they want to come back.
Meanwhile, Karnataka on Thursday reported 12 new cases taking the total number of Covid positive cases to 705. One more patient – a 55 year old lady – died in Davanagere, taking the toll to 30.