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Labour Politics

UP Govt announced Rs 21 lakhs earned from auction of migrant workers’ cycles, earns flak

Confiscation of their only means of transport and then such a unilateral sale in an auction has raised serious questions

Sabrangindia 09 Jun 2022

migrant workers

Widespread media reports of the UP government’s earnings from the auction of thousands of cycles bringing hapless migrant workers home during the pandemic has drawn flak. A few days ago, Kinshuk Srivastava, sub-divisional magistrate (SDM), Sadar announced that a  total of ₹21.2 lakh collected through the auction of the bicycles on Friday has been deposited in the state exchequer. While the SDM has also concluded that “It is now the discretion of the state government how to utilise the money,” the seizure of cycles of India’s most marginalized citizens, a seizure that could be questioned in both moral and legal terms leaves this conclusion open to interpretation.

Apparently, while 14,600 labourers later returned Saharanpur and collected their bicycles, the remaining 5,400 bicycles turned into scrap. The labourers were given a token with the number inscribed on the cushions of these cycles. “After waiting for two years, the administration decided to auction the bicycles,” the SDM said.

During the Covid pandemic-induced lockdown in early 2020, nearly 25,000 migrant workers reached Saharanpur on bicycles while heading back to their native places in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar from their places of work in Haryana, Punjab, Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh. While stopping the workers desperate to return home, the rationale behind the confiscation of their own cycles is open to serious question. The Saharanpur district administration has auctioned 5,400 bicycles left behind by migrant workers from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar while rushing home during the nationwide lockdown in the wake of Covid-19 pandemic, a senior official aware of the development said last Saturday.  Reports in the Hindustan Times, Times of India and Zee news have announced this government decision.

Two years ago, the state administration was arbitrarily stopping migrating workers, desperate to return home. This is after the central government under Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, peremptorily ordered a lockdown at four hours’ notice on the late night of March 23, 2020 causing panic. During this period, Uttar Pradesh stopped the worker on a cycle, confiscated his only means of transport and quarantined those returning. They were then sent them further by bus and train. But their cycles remained here. The Uttar Pradesh government collected Rs 21 lakh from thousands of cycles confiscated from laborers going towards their homes in lockdown. Saharanpur district auctioned 5400 such confiscated cycles of laborers, which the laborers could not come to collect. Why did the administration have to auction the bicycles of thousands of labourers.

Thousands of bicycles seized from laborers in Corona lockdown are lying in a deserted ground in Saharanpur in the form of junk today. A token of the number written on the cushions of these cycles was given to those laborers. But the laborers who returned hundreds of kilometers away might have neither the courage nor the money left, who would have come to collect the junked bicycles after spending the rent. Therefore, after waiting for two years, the administration auctioned more than 5000 cycles of laborers for Rs 21 lakh. Hindustan Times reported how, Jeetendra, who bought these thousands of cycles in the auction, is also upset.

The pictures of the suffering of the workers in the Corona lockdown has faded from public memory now. The unilateral sale of their only means of transport back home by an arrogant government that did not take measures to return them is ironic testimony to how little their lives matter.

 After the pandemic, there are now government claims of everything being good on one side. On the other hand, these cycles remain a symbol of the great exodus of laborers.


Related:

 

Migrant labourers: Guests or victims?

BREAKING: Stranded people including migrant workers permitted inter-state travel amidst Covid-19 lockdown

Rajasthan makes arrangements for safe passage of migrants

#LetMigrantsVote

 

UP Govt announced Rs 21 lakhs earned from auction of migrant workers’ cycles, earns flak

Confiscation of their only means of transport and then such a unilateral sale in an auction has raised serious questions

migrant workers

Widespread media reports of the UP government’s earnings from the auction of thousands of cycles bringing hapless migrant workers home during the pandemic has drawn flak. A few days ago, Kinshuk Srivastava, sub-divisional magistrate (SDM), Sadar announced that a  total of ₹21.2 lakh collected through the auction of the bicycles on Friday has been deposited in the state exchequer. While the SDM has also concluded that “It is now the discretion of the state government how to utilise the money,” the seizure of cycles of India’s most marginalized citizens, a seizure that could be questioned in both moral and legal terms leaves this conclusion open to interpretation.

Apparently, while 14,600 labourers later returned Saharanpur and collected their bicycles, the remaining 5,400 bicycles turned into scrap. The labourers were given a token with the number inscribed on the cushions of these cycles. “After waiting for two years, the administration decided to auction the bicycles,” the SDM said.

During the Covid pandemic-induced lockdown in early 2020, nearly 25,000 migrant workers reached Saharanpur on bicycles while heading back to their native places in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar from their places of work in Haryana, Punjab, Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh. While stopping the workers desperate to return home, the rationale behind the confiscation of their own cycles is open to serious question. The Saharanpur district administration has auctioned 5,400 bicycles left behind by migrant workers from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar while rushing home during the nationwide lockdown in the wake of Covid-19 pandemic, a senior official aware of the development said last Saturday.  Reports in the Hindustan Times, Times of India and Zee news have announced this government decision.

Two years ago, the state administration was arbitrarily stopping migrating workers, desperate to return home. This is after the central government under Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, peremptorily ordered a lockdown at four hours’ notice on the late night of March 23, 2020 causing panic. During this period, Uttar Pradesh stopped the worker on a cycle, confiscated his only means of transport and quarantined those returning. They were then sent them further by bus and train. But their cycles remained here. The Uttar Pradesh government collected Rs 21 lakh from thousands of cycles confiscated from laborers going towards their homes in lockdown. Saharanpur district auctioned 5400 such confiscated cycles of laborers, which the laborers could not come to collect. Why did the administration have to auction the bicycles of thousands of labourers.

Thousands of bicycles seized from laborers in Corona lockdown are lying in a deserted ground in Saharanpur in the form of junk today. A token of the number written on the cushions of these cycles was given to those laborers. But the laborers who returned hundreds of kilometers away might have neither the courage nor the money left, who would have come to collect the junked bicycles after spending the rent. Therefore, after waiting for two years, the administration auctioned more than 5000 cycles of laborers for Rs 21 lakh. Hindustan Times reported how, Jeetendra, who bought these thousands of cycles in the auction, is also upset.

The pictures of the suffering of the workers in the Corona lockdown has faded from public memory now. The unilateral sale of their only means of transport back home by an arrogant government that did not take measures to return them is ironic testimony to how little their lives matter.

 After the pandemic, there are now government claims of everything being good on one side. On the other hand, these cycles remain a symbol of the great exodus of laborers.


Related:

 

Migrant labourers: Guests or victims?

BREAKING: Stranded people including migrant workers permitted inter-state travel amidst Covid-19 lockdown

Rajasthan makes arrangements for safe passage of migrants

#LetMigrantsVote

 

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