Ever since the lockdown is announced in the country the life for workers who are working far from their homes has become not less than a trauma. We have been hearing different heart-wrenching stories of workers dying of hunger, road accidents, and whatnot. But amidst this chaotic phase, there is some good left in the country.
A Delhi farmer, Pappan Singh Gahlot, who owns a mushroom farm in Tigipur village in north-west Delhi has sponsored his 10 workers’ air travel expenses to return their homes safely. The flight is from Delhi to Patna scheduled on Thursday at 6 am. From Patna, the workers will board a bus to their village Sripur Gahar, in Samastipur district.
Pappan Singh Gahlot spent Rs. 68,000 for the flight tickets and also gave Rs. 3000 each to his workers so that they don’t face problems when they reach their home state. He also dropped all his 10 workers to the IGI Airport early on Thursday following the social distancing norms,
“We tried to book trains tickets but were unable to do it. Then we thought these people have been working with us for over 20 years, their journey should be safe. So we got them medically examined and arranged flight tickets for them,” Pappan Gehlot’s brother Niranjan Gehlot told news agency ANI.
Pappan Gehlot says he has been doing mushroom farming since 1993 which has a season between august and March. These workers wanted to go to their village in the first week of April, but couldn’t because of the lockdown. He paid for his workers’ flight because the migrant workers have worked for him for the last 20 years.
“We never thought of traveling in an airplane as it was beyond our financial capacity. We are super excited. My wife and mother are also elated as the faymily will not have to endure the ordeal of traveling for hours in a bus or train. We are grateful to our employer,” said Naveen, 21, who along with his younger brother Praveen, 18, joined Gahlot’s farm eight years ago.
Their father Lakhvinder Ram, 51, has been working for him for 27 years. When Lakhvinder broke the news to his wife that he and his sons would be coming by a flight, she didn’t believe him until Gahlot himself told her. The family says they are grateful to their employer.
Abandoned in the city since lockdown, Naveen said, “Our employer has been taking care of our food and lodging for the last two months. We never had a problem, but our family members back home were worried and wanted us to return. We tried to get tickets for Shramik Special trains but couldn’t get berths. After there were reports of laborers dying in accidents on their way back home, the farm owner booked air tickets for our journey.”
Gahlot said he didn’t want his workers to go through a traumatic experience like millions of other migrants.
“I didn’t want them to travel in inhuman conditions by road and put their lives in danger. When train tickets couldn’t be booked, I decided to bear the expense of their air travel. I am not expecting anything in return,” he said.
Gahlot said he has completed all their medical formalities, following the requirements specified, so that they have a smooth journey home.
“Medical fitness certificates have been issued by authorities to all 10 workers and they are fit to travel in a plane,” he added.