As the COVID-19 pandemic and consequent lockdown came into place, many migrants were left in the lurch. With workplaces shut and no means of getting home, some had taken drastic steps such as attempting to walk hundreds of miles back to their hometowns.
Eventually, as the government eased restrictions, the Indian Railways arranged for special trains to ferry migrants back home. And while many thousands left for there homes in the coming days, there were also repeated clashes between Union Railway Minister, Piyush Goyal and the Maharashtra government. Goyal had claimed that while the Railways was ready to provide trains, the state government was being unresponsive.
However, it would seem that even with trains available, there was nobody to take them. As The Free Press Journal's Narsi Benwal reported on Wednesday, the state had apparently incurred losses with the trains running empty.
The state government told the Bombay High Court on Wednesday that it had incurred loss of Rs 44 lakh as most of the trains arranged for migrants had gone empty.
In fact, Advocate General Ashutosh Kumbhakoni told the Bombay High Court that people were now returning back to the busy city. "There are no more migrant laborers, who want to go back home. In fact, there is a reverse migration as workers have started coming back to Mumbai," he was quoted as saying.
The bench was hearing a petition filed by a city-based trade union body, Centre of Indian Trade Unions, raising concerns over the plight of migrant workers stranded in Maharashtra amid the pandemic.