The 10 migrant workers from Shreepur Gahar village of Khanpur block in Samastipur district were stuck in Delhi during the lockdown, as they stayed back to complete some unfinished work in the fields.
Ten migrant workers from Samastipur are on cloud nine after their first flight from Delhi to Patna on Thursday because it was something they thought was virtually impossible.
The man who made it possible for them to fly home is their employer – Pappan Singh Gahlot, a mushroom farmer of Tigipur village in Delhi, where the migrants used to work on a three-acre mushroom field.
The 10 migrant workers from Shreepur Gahar village of Khanpur block in Samastipur district were stuck in Delhi during the lockdown, as they stayed back to complete some unfinished work in the fields. Forty of their co-workers had left for home before Holi.
Gahlot who turned out to be a good Samaritan, arranged for their stay and food in Delhi during the lockdown. He even sent money to their families in Samastipur.
That was not all.
When the lockdown curbs were eased, he initially refused to allow them to go home by bus and then by Shramik Special trains but went on to buy them flight tickets worth Rs 68,000 as soon as the government announced resumption of domestic commercial flights.
“My concern was that the migrant workers should not go home walking. The heavy rush in trains and buses dissuaded me to allow them to take the bus or train lest they contract coronavirus,” said Gahlot on phone from Delhi.
On Thursday, the entire group of workmen — Naveen Ram, Mahesh Ram, Arjun Ram, Lakhendra Ram, Praveen Ram, Chandrashekhar Ram, Amarjeet Ram, Jeevath Ram, Dinesh Ram and Jitendra Ram — could not stop praising Gehlot enough. For them, he has become a demi-god.
“Maalik (referring to Gahlot) came to see us off at the airport today and even handed each of us Rs 3,000 so that we can comfortably go home from Patna to Samastipur by road,” said Naveen.
“We are going to go back to work for him in August,” said Mahesh, who was visibly elated after deplaning at the Patna airport on Thursday.
“Their families have been working for us since 1993 when I took to mushroom farming. I never wanted to highlight the matter, but the media got a whiff of it when the workers were getting themselves checked for coronavirus at a hospital, days before taking the flight,” Gahlot added.
The farmers landed at Patna by an IndiGo flight and promptly called Gahlot to express their gratitude.
Over 19 lakh migrant workers have returned to Bihar from different parts of India by Shramik Special trains since May 3.