22 October, 2020

Plight Of The Nowhere People And Why Bihar Faces Social, Economic Doom

Experts warn that reverse migration will have a debilitating effect on the rural sector and the Bihar government has no plan to accommodate workers returning from big cities

An out-of-work migrant worker ponders his future after the lockdown.
Photo by Jitender Gupta/Outlook
Plight Of The Nowhere People And Why Bihar Faces Social, Economic Doom

For over a week, Sadat Ansari has been confined to a dingy 10x10 feet room in Khirki extension in South Delhi, a rented accommodation he shares with seven more people. He stares at the sprawling shopping centres across the street, constantly reminded of the glaring social distance between him and the urban crowd. Ansari, a daily wage earner was rendered jobless on March 25 when Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a nationwide lockdown to stop the spread of a silent killer—the new coronavirus.

Hunkered down at his tenement, the 36-year-old who came to Delhi from Bihar’s Madhubani district 20 years ago wanted to join the thousands of mig­rant workers who had hoped to rush back to their villages, despite the lockdown. What held him back? Ansari left his village because it has little to offer. No jobs, no money. Abject poverty. The stich hasn’t changed all these years. Besides, the Bihar government has no plan in place for them. “I don’t even own a small plot of land. What will I eat there? Though the Bihar government has announced free...



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