BENGALURU: With BBMP officials failing to turn up on Friday morning at a designated venue to register migrants who were to board a Shramik Special train, nearly 4,000 people heading to North-Eastern states, who had queued up from 5 am to 1.30 pm at Bangalore Palace grounds in Vasanth Nagar were left with no food, water or toilet facilities.
With a train being run to Assam on Friday after six days and information regarding this being received only on Thursday evening, there was a mad rush to grab a spot on the train by migrants.
Rosemary Viswanath of Coalition for Migrants, a grouping of NGOs, volunteers and others involved in helping migrants in the city, said, “We got frantic calls in the morning stating that there was not a single BBMP official in sight and they were waiting since 5 am. The four toilets available here were all locked. We had to call up so many officials and get them to act.
Finally, by 1.30 pm, people queuing up were given food and water.” Yaliyur Ahmed, a migrant employed as a garment worker, who had reached Palace Grounds from Marthahalli after forking out Rs 200 as auto fare, said, “When we reached here, there was no one to help us. Many of us had rushed here to leave for Assam. I called up people from an NGO I knew to help me and they reached here.”
BBMP Deputy Commissioner (West) N Chidananda told The New Indian Express, “There was some miscommunication. The police told us that the venue is Bangalore Palace and we thought it would be Tripura Vasini Grounds and made all arrangements for it. We later came to know it was at the Tennis Pavilion area. So, it took us some time to shift everything there.”
Divisional Railway Manager A K Verma said, “We decided to run two trains to Assam on Friday because of the rush. The BBMP expected around 1,500 to turn up but nearly 3,400 wanted to leave the city.”
BBMP Commissioner B H Anil Kumar told The New Indian Express that the confusion was due to lack of communication, but it was sorted out soon.
“The information came late but we mobilised our staff quickly. While 1,589 workers from Uttar Pradesh gathered at Tripura Vasini, around 3,500 people had gathered at Tennis Pavilion. We ensured all of them boarded the trains. The workers from Assam were sent by two trains,” he added.