UP labourers stranded in Punjab amid lockdown seek help to reach home
Shimla: “Papa, please come home soon”, two-year-old daughter of tile mason Tinku Singh, who is stuck in Punjab’s Rupnagar district amid the country-wide lockdown, tells him on every call.
Singh (27) hails from Agra and recently took a contract job in Himachal Pradeh’s Baddi which is near Rupnagar. But after the authorities imposed a lockdown in the area to contain spread of COVID-19, Singh and 11 other workers from Uttar Pradesh are stuck in their rented rooms in Kumhar Mohalla in Kiratpur Sahib area of Rupnagar.
Singh said it is “very difficult” for him to reach Agra and longs to meet his daughter Nandini.
“I never knew I would be stuck here for so long. When the Janta Curfew was observed on March 22, I thought it would be just a one-day affair,” he told PTI over phone.
Singh was married three years ago. His wife Pinki Devi, parents Meena Devi and Bhanwarpal Singh also asking him to return home as soon as possible when he talks to them over phone.
The 12 workers from UP were making very little money after they took the jobs at a house in Baddi.
Each of them was earning around Rs 500 daily and the expenditure for every person on daily travel between Kiratpur Sahib and Baddi was Rs 160 and the room rent was Rs 2,000 per month.
The workers somehow managed to arrange food till Thursday, but are now left with less than Rs 1,000.
‘We want to go home. We are left with almost no money. We request you, UP and Punjab governments to somehow arrange our return to our homes. We will pay the fare after reaching our homes,” Neeraj Raj, a 21-year-old UP worker who came to Kiratpur Sahib just a few days ago told PTI.
“We wanted to go out and tell the police about our plight, but we saw police beating those violating curfew so we could not gather courage to go out and ask for help,” Singh said.
However, Raj somehow found PTI reporter’s mobile number while searching on google and narrated their woes to this correspondent on Thursday at 9.30 pm.
After the reporter shared a post about the worker’s plight on Facebook, Punjab’s special chief secretary Karan Bir Singh Sidhu immediately contacted Ropar District Collector Sonali Giri in this regard.
Subsequently, Kiratpur SHO contacted the workers on phone and they were provided flour, rice, cooking oil, sugar and pulses.
Singh and Raj thanked the Punjab government and Rupnagar administration for providing them food and requested the authorities to help them reach their homes.
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