A group of 80, stranded Jammu & Kashmir migrant labourers had to shell out a combined Rs 1.82 lakh for their bus travel from Puttaparthi to Hyderabad, from where they were to be ferried on a train to Jammu.
Each of them had to pay more than Rs 2,500 for a ticket when the normal fare was Rs 600 only according to Sheikh Tariq, a small-time businessman, and the group leader.
“We had no money and had to borrow from a few local businessmen who knew us. He said the group had been “stuck in the lockdown for 65 days”. “We had run out of food and money and lost hope of returning, but some local businessmen agreed to give us loans,” Tariq said.
The money was charged by the Andhra Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation for the three “special buses” that ferried them to Hyderabad, covering 436km.
A picture of his ticket has been received by a correspondent from Tariq, over WhatsApp, which confirmed his account.
He said the Jammu and Kashmir government had promised help but later told them to make it to Hyderabad railway station on their own. “No government came to our help, neither Andhra’s nor Jammu and Kashmir’s,” Tariq said.
Several states had imposed their own lockdown before the nationwide restrictions began on March 25 and that already reduced them to penury, moreover, the return journey worsened their situation, burdening them with debt.
Two local businessmen “Ram and Laxman” helped to send the migrant workers home when all hopes were lost for the group to go back home amid the lockdown.
Input from: India Today