Bihar sends homes stranded Kashmiri traders, migrants from Bengal and Jharkhand | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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Bihar sends homes stranded Kashmiri traders, migrants from Bengal and Jharkhand

Hindustan Times, Patna | ByRuchir Kumar | Edited by Sabir Hussain
May 11, 2020 04:06 PM IST

All the stranded people had planned to leave Bihar after March 24 but were stranded following the lockdown.

The Patna district administration brought back smiles on the faces of nearly 160 stranded people, mostly migrant workers by facilitating their return home in the last three days.

Kashmiri woollen traders in Patna before boarding a bus for Jammu on Sunday.(HT PHOTO)
Kashmiri woollen traders in Patna before boarding a bus for Jammu on Sunday.(HT PHOTO)

All these people were scheduled to leave Patna after March 24, but found themselves stranded due to the lockdown.

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Among them were 107 migrant labourers from West Bengal, 30-35 workers from Jharkhand’s Godda district, 17 Kashmiri woollen hawkers and a three-member group from Srinagar that was here to attend a marriage.

Most of them had registered with the helpline numbers of their respective states hoping to be bailed out. They were running low on hope as they continued to be stranded in Bihar almost a month since their registration for help. Every passing day was proving to be a mental and financial drain.

Patna district magistrate Kumar Ravi took up the case for evacuation of the stranded people after Hindustan Times highlighted the plight of Kashmiri woollen hawkers last week.

“I tried to get buses arranged and contacted officials of their state. When my officers got in touch with their counterparts, they got to know that two buses were coming, carrying stranded pilgrims to Bihar. The same bus was used for the return of the Kashmiri people stranded in Patna,” said Ravi.

“(Rohit Raj) assistant commissioner, labour resources department, worked hard to coordinate it. The driver and staff of the bus, which came to Patna, were very reluctant…” he added.

“It was the cheapest and safest option available. We have informed the officers of J&K about every development orally,” said Ravi, when this reporter asked him about their payment. Each Kashmiri had to pay the bus staff 2,500 for their return up to Jammu.

The Patna district administration screened all passengers and gave them food packets and drinking water before the Kashmiri entourage left Patna on Sunday evening.

“We also facilitated the return of 107 migrant labourers by three buses from Bihta block in Patna to West Bengal on May 9. Today, we are trying to send back to Godda 30-35 migrant workers in a bus, which has come along with a magistrate, from Jharkhand,” said Rohit Raj, assistant labour commissioner.

It was not easy for the Kashmiris, most of who had been coming to Bihar for the past two decades, to cope with Bihar’s oppressive summer.

“We are not used to such heat and were developing rashes on our skin, as our return was delayed by a month-and-a-half,” said Md Shafi Bhawani, 45, who was among the 17-member group of Kashmiri hawkers.

“We are thankful to the Bihar government for facilitating our return home, we so desperately wanted to during the holy month of Ramzan,” said Nawaz Amin Bhawani, 35, whose marriage is scheduled in June.

The joy on the face of Gulshna Akhtar, who is Md Shafi’s spouse, said it all.

“A mother can only realise the pangs of separation from her small children. I’ll get to meet my children after two months,” she said. Her children — Bashrat Shafi (18), Saima Shafi (15) and Fida Hussain (10) — who came to tour the hinterlands of Bihar, had left for Srinagar after Holi, in anticipation of their schools reopening. The couple, however, stayed back to collect some outstanding payments, which some of its customers owed, and got stuck during lockdown.

Around 8,000 people from outside Bihar were stranded in the state due to the lockdown, as per information available with Bihar’s disaster management department till May 4.

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