Migrants from Bihar, who were working in garment units at Tirupur in Tamil Nadu and were on their way back home on Tuesday (May 19), alleged that they had been locked up by their employers during the COVID-19 lock down and were not provided basic necessities.

The garment workers, belonging to Bihar and bordering villages in Nepal, were travelling on four buses till Patna.

“We were ignored even when we went without food for days at a stretch during the lock down and curfew period,” recalled Sushil Kumar Mandal of Sitamarhi district, who worked in one of the hundreds of garment manufacturing units in Tirupur.

“In fact, we were locked up in our living quarters during those difficult days so that we did not escape,” added Mukesh Kumar Raut, also from the same district.

Mr. Mandal and Mr. Raut were among the 120 workers who had paid around ₹7,200 towards the hire charges (total hire charge coming to over ₹2 lakh for one bus) from the money sent by their families back home.

The buses started from Tirupur around 10 p.m. on May 16 and stopped at the Pipparwada toll plaza, about 15 km from Adilabad district headquarters town and just 3 km away from the Telangana-Maharashtra border on Tuesday (May 19) when the workers narrated their woeful tale to The Hindu.

They said hundreds of other garment workers are waiting for an opportunity to leave Tirupur in the coming days.


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