Mumbai: The first batch of 25 workers boarded a bus to Rajasthan from the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus (CSMT) junction at 5pm on Sunday, after the state government permitted people stranded in the city since the lockdown from March 25 to leave for their native states, pending completion of certain formalities.
The group originating from Jalore, Rajasthan, had been stuck in Fort, Mumbai, for well over a month now. Once the travel restrictions were lifted, the group approached the MRA Marg police station on Saturday with medical certificates and were immediately granted permission. The group had arranged its own bus, which left for Jalore from CSMT junction on Sunday evening. There are lakhs of such migrant workers stranded in the city and are waiting for the state's approval to leave for home.
"This is the first batch of migrants leaving the city. Since Rajasthan has given open permission for their people stranded elsewhere in the country, we granted them permission on immediate basis after verifying their documents," said Sangramsingh Nishandar, deputy commissioner of police (DCP), Zone 1.
28-year-old Jalam Singh, among the 25 who left for the Jalore on Sunday said, "I was working in the garment business and since the lockdown, there has been absolutely no work here. We made attempts to leave for home before but were unable to do so, because of the restrictions".
"As the lockdown kept getting extended, it became difficult for us to survive, with most of us running short on resources and many surviving on food provided by the authorities," he said.
After the Centre's nod, the state government had drafted guidelines enabling migrant workers to leave. Last Friday, the state designated DCPs of police commissionerates across the state as nodal officers for migrants and laid down a procedure for the latter's journey to their home state.
Following this decision, many police stations across the city were thronged by migrant workers seeking approval.