Lucknow: It is double jeopardy! Hundreds of migrants who are arriving in their hometowns in Uttar Pradesh are doing a reality check. While joblessness and an uncertain future constrained them to leave the 'host' state, they are facing another grueling challenge for survival at quarantine centres.
Most of them go without food and water through the night; and, at some places, even without electricity in the sweltering summer heat. Fed up with the reception, many of them have jumped the 14-day mandatory quarantine and are holed up at their own houses.
Over 22 workers returned to the village from various states. None of them is staying at the quarantine centre due to lack of food and electricity, points out Ravi Dubey, a resident of Kapsa village in Sagdi Tehsil of Azamgarh district.
Perforce, they spend the night at the village tube well, underneath trees or in a deserted corner of their own houses, so that their families don’t contract the disease, in case they are carrying the infection.
Vivek Singh, who worked with a private company in Panvel, reached Kapsa on Tuesday via trailer which carried 130 workers from various parts of eastern Uttar Pradesh. Each one had to shell out Rs 3,000 for the journey.
“Once I reached my village, I called the Gram Pradhan to arrange quarantine for me. I was told to make arrangements myself. Now, I am squatting at my tube well for the last two weeks. The saving grace is that my family provides me with food,'' Singh told FPJ over phone.
He adds, “A family which returned from Delhi keeps coughing. Despite requests from the Gram Pradhan, they haven’t been tested yet. There seems to be a total mess here. I feel things were better in Maharashtra.”
Gram Pradhan Rakesh Singh didn’t respond to calls. District collector Nagendra Singh’s officer number was unreachable. A few workers who had left Vasai (Maharashtra) by a Shramik special train last week were overwhelmed as they touched base in district Jaunpur.
However, they were shocked at the treatment they got at the quarantine centre in Madiayhun town of Jaunpur district. “There was no water at the centre when we reached. After much hue and cry on social media, a water tanker was sent in the evening.
We were given a cup of tea in the morning. About 100 gm khichdi was provided in the lunch packet. There was nothing for the kids,” said a worker languishing at Vivekanand College, Madiyahun. Someone then tweeted to chief minister Yogi Adityanath. One man’s anxious words summed up the mood.
“We are afraid how we will survive 14 days in quarantine,” wondered Rajkumari (name changed), a mother of two kids. Such is the condition that workers resorted to ruckus at Mohammad Hasan Inter College, Jaunpur. “They broke the counters and the cameras as they wanted to go home.
As per rules we had to un - dergo a medical checkup and random sample collection,” an official said. Most workers were provided with the buses to reach the nearest quarantine centre from the railway station. However, there is no transportation available for them to reach to their homes in nearby districts.
Subhash Yadav, who reached his village in Soraon tehsil, Prayagraj, by his own vehicle, told FPJ, “In Maharashtra, people would help us even if they suspected that we might be carriers of corona. In my own village, people have turned their backs on us as if we are the virus.”
At some places, however, village leaders are working hard to arrange supply of essentials for the returnees. “There seems to be a race among the aspiring gram Pradhan candidates to serve us as panchayat polls are due next year,” quips a migrant worker.