Guwahati: If you visit the Guwahati Railway Station from the Pan Bazaar side, you will be greeted with new sights —– some makeshift camps have been set up for the railway travelers, mostly migrants.
It is alleged that most of the inmates are there in such camps for more than 15 days and they have not got access to food for the last couple of days.
When the Team EastMojo visited the site, which is almost a kilometre away foffice of the deputy commissioner, Kamrup (M), some of the inmates there alleged that they are passing sleepless nights without food and no one from the state health department has even visited the camps to take care of the inmates during this time of crisis.
Rashmi Sonowal, an orphaned-specially abled woman, who has been living in Goa for the past 11 years had to come back to the state of Assam due to the COVID-19 emergency.
“Even though I have come here I have no place to go and due to my accident I am unable to move properly, forget about carrying my luggage,” she said.
Sonowal had to go to Dibrugarh to sign some official papers relating to her accident and then returned back to Guwahati. However, due to the crisis, she is at the Guwahati Railway Station for more than 15-days now.
“We were given kidchi during the first few days, but, now, we are eating sira (flattened rice)” she said.
Ignored and feeling left out by the government, teary-eyed Sonowal added, “I want to meet the government as we were even lathi-charged by police here in this place even fully knowing about my physical condition. That’s why I want to meet the health minister and ask him what arrangements they have made for us? I am specially-abled, no job, and no house.”
This is just one account of the dire situation that these people are now facing who are sandwiched between COVID-19 lockdown without any access to food, money, or shelter.
Dolen Singh is yet another stranded migrant who has been working in Shillong as a daily wage laborer. But due to the lockdown, he is unable to earn his livelihood these days.
Singh even made some futile attempts to find some jobs here in the city of Kamrup (M) to get some money so that he may be able to go back to his home town in Imphal, Manipur.
He even added, “Since the time I have been here I have never seen even one doctor or any health official visiting us.”
To understand more about the situation EastMojo even reached out to the NF Railway PRO Nripen Bhattacharyya, who said, “It’s the state authority who had set up those camps after taking permission from Railway authority and so it’s their duty to think about the stranded migrant laborers,” adding: Our duty was to bring them to the state which we did.
EastMojo even tried to reach out to DC Kamrup (M) Biswajit Pegu and State Nodal Officer Anurag Goel but failed to get any response.
The makeshift camp, now, houses at least 20 individuals most of them are migrants, specially-abled, and daily wage laborers who are awaiting a remedy for their crisis.
Meanwhile, another 327 persons tested positive for COVID-19 aka coronavirus in Assam on Sunday night. With this, the total number of COVID-19 cases has gone up to 7,492 in the state.
During the ongoing lockdown hours, which will last for 14 days, the health department is planning to collect swabs from as many people as possible in the city.
The department has set up testing and counselling centres in every ward of the city where the health workers have been collecting an average of 500 samples each day. Very soon rapid testing facilities will be available in these centres. A senior health official said that anyone can come for COVID-19 test to a nearby centre during the lockdown days.