It was a trying time for a group of 15 workers, all members of one family, who left for their village from Lucknow to Sitapur during lockdown but landed in the government primary school where water, food and other necessities were denied “because government does not have facilities to provide them food and water during quarantine.”
“We made a big mistake by leaving our home in Lucknow. We managed to reach our village but now we are starving because the Pradhan says he has no order to provide them food,” says Reshma Devi.
One of the family members should provide them food at the quarantine centre. As all of them belong to this village I asked them to stay in the school and get the food from their house,” Singh said.
On Sunday, when Uttar Pradesh Government provided buses to transfer stranded migrant workers to their villages, the group of 15 people boarded a bus in Lucknow for their village in Sitapur. They stayed at their home on Sunday night. But as the word spread that anyone coming into the village from other city should remain in quarantine, the Gram Pradhan came on Monday and asked them to stay put in the government school.
All of them are resident of village Sanjarabad in Sitapur district, which is 80 km from Lucknow. Reshma works as a maid in a residential colony in Lucknow while others work as menial labourers in different construction sites of the city. They are all members of one family.
Sanjeev Singh, son of Pradhan Rama Singh, said that he could do what was possible for him. “The Government order says that migrant workers should be kept in quarantine in government school. If they belong to that village they will not be served food from government.
“We reached the school at around 9 am. We did not have food the whole day. No official came with food and water. When we asked for food the Pradhan said tauntingly, ‘have you come for a marriage that I should give you food?’,” said Reshma.
“As we failed to cope up with hunger, the next day morning I sent my daughter to the village to cook food and bring the same for us. This way we had our lunch on Tuesday,” she said.
Reshma says there is no one in the family in the village who can cook food and bring the same to the school. “We are not on talking terms with other members of the family. Our portion of the house remains locked when we are in Lucknow. So, we need to cook food for ourselves,” she said.
“What is the use of sending us to quarantine if one of us will go to village and cook food? The best could be we should be allowed to stay in the village or the government should provides us with food,” Reshma asserted.
Sanjeev Singh said that he is in no position to provide them with food. “I do not have resources. I need to go by rule book. The rules say that all the 15 of them need to stay in quarantine for 14 days and one of the family members should get food for them,” he said.