The Anand Vihar Bus Terminal is presently witnessing heavy crowds as thousands of workers and migrant labourers have gathered for what can be called a mass evaluation. The mass evacuation of these people who have been struggling to return back home amid this nationwide pandemic have been assembling at the bus terminal with the hope of returning back to their homes.
Over the last five days, the national lockdown imposed to tackle COVID-19 has left thousands of workers homeless and without any resources to manage in these hard times.
These workers have been stranded for many days without money, food or water and have come at a complete sense of loss ever since the total lockdown paralysed the whole country.
After days of dithering the Centre and the Uttar Pradesh government, finally an evacuation plan has been implemented. The Uttar Pradesh Road Transport Cooperation has started a bus service since yesterday and began arranging for buses to take these migrant workers back home. Since Sunday evening, thousands of people have been gathering at the bus terminal with a hope that they can finally go back home amidst the total lockdown.
Most of the people who have gathered at the terminus are migrant workers and daily wage earners and ever since the total lockdown took place, they have been facing extreme financial stress.
Upon talking to some of these migrant labourers, we found that many of them have been finding it extremely difficult to sustain in the city in the absence of income as all factories/warehouses and construction sites have been closed down.
Some of the people who have gathered at the bus terminal have come from areas such as Bhajanpura where they worked in factories prior to the Delhi communal riots. They used to get paid on a day to day basis and not with fixed salaries, so when the factories shut down it completely brought them to the dens of poetry and loss.
Then, the spread of the COVID-19 came about and completely brought a standstill and left no chance for these workers to cope up with these times.
Most of the workers whom we spoke to had similar stories to tell. They also expressed worry about the way they would go home, whether their children would survive such long journeys in the absence of food.
Many of them said that if the virus doesn’t kill them, their journeys certainly could.
The thousands of workers and their families who have gathered at the bus terminal have been given the choice of taking a bus to cities in UP, for how long they would have to wait to board the bus depends on the routes that they pick up. Once dropped, they have to look for transportation themselves to take them to their villages.
The crowds have been swelling up outside the bus terminal ever since an announcement regarding the service had been made. Thousands can be seeing waiting in jam packed lines, in desperate hope for a seat back home.