Hometown: Bansa, Uttar Pradesh
Occupation: Embroidery Work
Returned from: Bhupalapalli, Hyderabad
Niyaz has been in Bhupalapalli doing embroidery work for Rs. 700 a day as opposed to Rs. 1,000 a week in Barabanki. The working environment was stable until the lockdown. His employer refused to pay the salary, provide food, or cover rent. With the savings depleting day-by-day, Niyaz requested a small amount from his family to make a safe journey back to Uttar Pradesh.
Interviewer: What was your reaction to the lockdown? Why did you decide to return home? Share the details of your journey back to Bansa, Uttar Pradesh.
Niyaz: I was working in routine till Saturday, and on Sunday the lockdown was instated. The spread was contained at the time, I was convinced work would resume two-weeks later. I discussed prevention methods with my friends, but they had the same knowledge of the virus.
Two months passed by, everything remained shut. I spent the next few days isolating myself in my room, waiting for a mode of transportation back home. Through word-of-mouth, I received information on forms for a train ticket. My friend and I submitted the form and visited the police station. The policemen delayed the process by asking us to revisit the next day for fifteen consecutive days. It was at our fifteenth attempt they offered to issue a movement pass if we were able to rent a vehicle.
I sent my savings home at the announcement of lockdown as my family is financially dependent on me. Nonetheless, they transferred me a sufficient amount to pay Rs. 3,700 along with fourteen others for a truck ride back to Musauli. The policemen introduced us to truck drivers at the station who agreed to drive us for a certain amount and a movement pass. We left after getting tested at a local facility. The journey lasted two and a half days including stops for food. Food was distributed by government camps and volunteers.
Interviewer: How do you plan on adapting to the circumstance?
Niyaz: I will have to return to Bhupalapalli soon enough since there is no work here. However, this time, I will not go back to the same employer. She cut off all communication after the lockdown was enforced.
I am searching for embroidery work here right now and will only consider leaving once the threat of the pandemic is removed.