Demanding food, buses, migrants gather at MP-Maharashtra border, throw stones

Thousands of migrants, on the way to northern states from Maharashtra amid the COVID-19 crisis, are pouring in at Sendhwa in Madhya Pradesh's Barwani district

Migrants, which included pregnant women, senior citizens, and children, were facing a lot of difficulties in the absence of food, water and transportation facilities. File photo: PTI

Demanding food and transportation, hundreds of migrant workers on Thursday (May 14) gathered near Sendhwa on the Madhya Pradesh-Maharashtra border, while a few others threw stones.

Thousands of migrants, on the way to northern states from Maharashtra amid the COVID-19 crisis, are pouring in at Sendhwa in Madhya Pradesh’s Barwani district. Eye witnesses said groups of migrants created a ruckus, alleging that the government made no arrangement of food and transportation for them.

In the afternoon, some of them threw stones, but nobody was injured in the incident, witnesses said.

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Shailesh Tripathi, who reached Barwani from Pune, said migrants, which included pregnant women, senior citizens, and children, were facing a lot of difficulties in the absence of food, water and transportation facilities.

A large number of migrants were waiting for food and transport on Madhya Pradesh-Maharashtra border for hours, and people from Satna, Rewa, Anuppur and other districts of Madhya Pradesh were also among them, he said.

Barwani collector Amit Tomar said the migrants were sent to transit points in different districts in 135 buses from the border.

Stone-pelting took place as some migrants felt that after the buses left, that there would not be any more vehicles for those left behind, but officials reassured them and calmed them down, he said.

Meanwhile, the state government said that about 15,000 migrant labourers were taken from Sendhwa border (Bijasen Ghat border) to other places in the past three days while there has been a huge influx from Maharashtra.

“The maximum pressure of migrants is being faced at Bijasan Ghat on the border of Sendhwa (MP-Maharashtra). 5,000 to 6,000 migrant workers are reaching there every day,” a government statement said.

Migrant workers were being transported by buses for free to Dewas transit point after providing them food and conducting medical tests, it said.

From Dewas, they are sent to Sagar, Chhatarpur, Guna, and Shivpuri by buses.

Subsequently, migrant workers of other districts of the state are transported to their home districts and those from Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand, and Bihar are ferried to the border of Uttar Pradesh, the state government said.

Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan appealed to migrants not to panic. “Do not panic in this hour of crisis, the Madhya Pradesh government will ensure that every migrant worker reaches home. Arrangements for food, temporary stay, medical check-ups, and buses have been made. This arrangement will continue until all migrant workers reach their destinations,” Chouhan said.

Additional Chief Secretary ICP Keshari informed that over 2.26 lakh migrant workers were brought back to Madhya Pradesh by road from other states while 86,000 migrants were brought by the special trains.

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