‘If Yogi Ji Gives Jobs, Why Would We Return?’: Auto Rickshaw Drivers From Hindi Belt Leave MumbaiAuto Rickshaw in Mumbai

Migrant auto-rickshaw owners and operators are stuffing their belongings fleeing Mumbai amid the Covid-19 spread to reach their villages in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. Their vehicle in the escape is the three wheeler. Most of them are unlikely to return.

A report in the Times of India says that the auto-rickshaw operators and owners have left Mumbai with their families and belongings packed in the three wheelers. TOI spoke to some of them in Madhya Pradesh, where these folks halted for a breather in their 1,400 km long journey.

These people left Mumbai after they were finding daily survival difficult. They decided to leave Mumbai lock, stock, barrel as "there was nothing to eat."

They would not like to return to Mumbai and want to earn a living from their lands back in their villages, and other means of livelihoods. One of them was asked if they would return to Mumbai. He said: “Never. If Yogiji gives us jobs, why would we return to Mumbai? We will stay with our own people.”

They were required to pay for small requirements and this was forcing them to beg during the lockdown. Remaining stranded in the city of work during the lockdown with families was becoming tough.

They are now travelling all the way to Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, hoping that they would find livelihood opportunities in the home states. The 8,000 auto-rickshaw owners and operators are from the 2.5 lakh strong fraternity - many of them hailing from UP and Bihar.

Many of them have said that the Maharashtra government has done little to help them during the lockdown and they were beaten up by the police while leaving the state.

They have also indicated that nearly 40,000 migrant workers who are stranded in Mumbai are waiting to leave the city and ready to travel on foot.

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