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Hundreds of migrants in queue at Delhi’s Chhatarpur, all desperate for a ticket home

With a very limited number of seats available on Shramik Special trains, the crowd outside a screening centre in Chhatarpur is increasing, leading to chaos.

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New Delhi: Hundreds of migrant workers gathered near the Chhatarpur temple in Delhi Monday in the hope of going back to their homes in Bihar.

The Delhi government had given a web link for the workers to register for the Shramik Special trains. Many migrant workers from Bihar registered on the same link two weeks ago, and they received a reply over the last few days mentioning their screening location and train departure date.

Among the more than a thousand people seen at the screening centre Monday, many were asked to report on 15 and 16 May and had been camping there since, unable to get a ticket. Many others, who did not register, had also reached the location, hoping they would be accommodated too. All of them have been living on the streets for the past few days, desperate to get on a train.

But only a few among them get lucky due to a limited number of seats available on the trains that depart from the Old Delhi railway station.

Each Shramik Special train being run by the government to take migrant workers to their home states is allowed to carry 1,200 passengers in one trip. Tickets are distributed among the different districts, with each allotted around 150-200 seats, which are then given to the migrant workers after a screening.

From the Chhatarpur centre in South Delhi district too, where migrants from Bihar were called for screening, only a limited number of tickets are being issued for each train.

The flow of migrant workers in huge numbers, with or without registration, outside the centre, meanwhile, has resulted in a chaos.

Sapan Burman, whose home is in Jharkhand, said he heard from someone about this train and reached the location on 15 May with his wife so he could get on the earliest train home. He said the owner of the place he rented was putting pressure on him to leave.

Arvind Rajak received a message to come for screening on 15 May, and has been in the queue since. On Monday too, the seats filled up, and once again he was left out. He said, “I have been here for the past few days in the same clothes. I want to go back home.”

Speaking to ThePrint, B.M. Mishra, District Magistrate of South Delhi, said a huge number of people have been turning up since Sunday, but we have only a certain number of seats. “More people started reaching the centre as they heard from someone migrants are being sent home from this location. We are organising trains for them tomorrow (Tuesday). Hopefully, they all will be sent back,” he said Monday evening.

ThePrint’s photojournalist Manisha Mondal captured the plight of the migrant workers who are now stranded at the Chhatarpur screening centre for the time being.

Thousands of people wait for their turn | Photo: Manisha Mondal | ThePrint
A large number of people, waiting for their turn to board the train home, at the screening centre in Chhatarpur | Manisha Mondal | ThePrint

A workers shows a message he received | Photo: Manisha Mondal | ThePrint
A worker shows the message he received about screening | Manisha Mondal | ThePrint

The desperation to reach home make migrant workers fight to stand first in the queue | Photo: Manisha Mondal | ThePrint
Desperate to reach home, migrant workers fight to get ahead in the queue | Manisha Mondal | ThePrint

A father extends his hand to her daughter before the last process to board the bus that will take them to their homes in Bhagalpur | Manisha Mondal | ThePrint
A father extends his hand to his daughter to hurry and complete the pre-boarding process so that they can go home to Bhagalpur | Manisha Mondal | ThePrint

A worker submerged chana in water so that when it plummet they can eat it during their journey | Photo: Manisha Mondal | ThePrint
A worker has soaked chickpeas in water to be eaten during the journey | Manisha Mondal | ThePrint

Migrant workers shifted inside the temple | Photo: Manisha MOndal | ThePrint
The migrant workers waiting for their tickets shifted inside the Chhatarpur temple premises | Manisha Mondal | ThePrint

After staying waiting for 24 hours for train finally the workers could sleep on a carpet inside the temple | Photo Manisha Mondal | ThePrint
After waiting for 24 hours for a train, a family spread a sheet on the floor inside the temple premises slept off  | Manisha Mondal | ThePrint

People who could not go today look at the queues | Photo: Manisha Mondal | ThePrint
People who could not get on a train look at the queues | Manisha Mondal | ThePrint

After a long day of struggle migrant workers rest | Photo: Manisha Mondal | ThePrint
After a long day, migrant workers rest | Manisha Mondal | ThePrint

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