GUWAHATI, May 20 - For Karan Horo, Yesudas Bagh, Soma Aind and 14 others, their attempts to get a response from the Assam government to their repeated distress calls have proved futile. They hail from different tea garden areas of Sonitpur district and four months ago they had gone to Gandhinagar in Gujarat in search of better livelihood.
�We were working at a private entity called Nandeswari Steel Industry. From day one of the nationwide lockdown, the industry has remained closed. Now, we all are stranded here with empty pockets, completely dependent on free food provided by NGOs,� Horo said.
The group said they had tried all the helpline numbers and emails addresses launched by the Government of Assam to get an opportunity to return home, but to no avail. They had even called the helpline number launched by the Assam Pradesh Congress Committee (APCC), but did not get any positive response from it as well.
The group stated that while the workers hailing from other states have already reached their native places by the trains and buses arranged by their respective state governments, �the labourers from Assam have remained stranded at Gandhinagar because our State government is yet to initiate any step to facilitate our return. We are, of course, fortunate and grateful that the owner of our industry is still allowing us to stay put in the quarters. Yet, we are desperate to go back because at present there is no source of income left available at Gandhinagar for us,� Yesudas Bagh said.
Bagh further stated that at Gandhinagar, they were getting a salary of Rs 12,000 per month, which is much higher than what they could earn in their respective tea gardens.
Another member, Soma Aind, said that his family has been facing acute financial hardship due to the shutdown as he is the sole breadwinner.
�We came here in search of a better life. But, the dream lies shattered now. I have three children and wife, and they are struggling amid the lockdown. I want to be back home immediately so that I can manage to eke out a living in my native place to support my family,� he added.