UP gov’t accepts Priyanka Gandhi’s proposal of arranging 1,000 buses for migrant workers

Thousands of migrants gathered at the Ghaziabad’s Ramlila maidan, in the hope to get registered for the special trains that will take them back to Uttar Pradesh.


Scenes of utter chaos that brought back horrific memories of the early days of the unplanned national lockdown when similar scenes of thousands of men, women and children reaching the Delhi-UP borders had made the world sit up and notice the horrific situation. Over the last two months almost, migrant workers have continued to try and get home safe, as the cities they have helped build no longer seem to be the place that they can live in with dignity. 

Journalist Piyush Rai posted this video clip that showed how social distancing was merely on paper, as was any promise of systems being in place to facilitate the workers return home. It went viral soon enough.

The workers have continued to suffer the blazing summer heat and waited, some have also been waiting at the Delhi-Ghaziabad border for a couple of days now. Scores more waited near a Delhi government school in East Delhi near the highway when told that buses will be made available to take them back home. 

On Sunday, Delhi Pradesh Congress Committee President Choudhary Anil Kumar was detained at his home by the police when, according to him, he had been organising buses and help for the migrant workers to go back to their homes.



An FIR was registered against him as well.



However, this too paled in comparison with the unusual political development that came from Uttar Pradesh hours later. On Monday May 18, the The UP Government “accepted” a proposal made by Congress General Secretary, Priyanka Gandhi who had said her party will arrange for 1,000 buses for migrants. On Sunday, she had said the buses were ready and waiting however the UP government was yet to allow them to cross the border. The UP government she said was busy playing politics instead. 



Lo and behold, the UP government responded as soon as the visuals of the chaos at the borders went viral, and granted “permission,”. According to news agency ANI, the Uttar Pradesh Additional Chief Secretary (Home) Awanish Awasthi, wrote to Priyanka Gandhi to state that the Congress’ offer to the buses was accepted and permission was granted. He also asked for the details of the vehicles and the drivers “without delay.”



“… Thank you for allowing us to run 1000 buses at the expense of Congress, to help thousands of migrant brothers and sisters…” An emphatic Priyanka replied to thank the UP government for this gesture and said the Congress would bear the costs of sending the migrants home.




The Congress of course is not in power either in Delhi Government nor in Uttar Pradesh government, and the UP government’s response to their offer is interesting to say the least. Priyanka Gandhi is more active than ever and  in charge of the party in eastern Uttar Pradesh. On Saturday news reports, she had written to UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath seeking permission to allow Congress to send 1000 buses carrying migrant workers homewards. The party was responding to the situation as news of the accident at Auraiya, where 24 people lost their lives came in.

“Lakhs of workers are trying to get back to their homes while walking from various parts of the country and there are not enough arrangements made for them. We wish to operate 500 buses each from Ghazipur and Noida borders,” Priyanka Gandhi had stated in her letter to CM Adityanath, which was reported by The Quint and other news outlets.

The situation of migrant workers is as bad at other borders leading to eastern Uttar Pradesh, and onwards to Bihar, as well. According to news reports angry migrant labourers blocked the Agra-Mathura highway on Sunday in protest against lack of enough buses for their journey home. 

Interestingly, UP chief Minister Yogi Aditanath had said on sunday that his government will grant permission to any “organization or party “ that wanted to support the migrant workers return journeys. All that has to do is share a list of names and resources.




The UP government is yet to make public what additional arrangements it has put in place to screen, quarantine and support, the thousands of migrant workers once they return to the state. 



Migrants killed in accidents on the way back home: 24 in UP, 5 in MP

Fourteen migrants die, 60 get injured in two road accidents

16 migrant workers run over by train in Aurangabad, Opposition demands answers

Death, harassment and apathy – there’s a long road before migrants go back home




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