In a desperate attempt to go back to their hometown, migrants paid Rs 6700 each for bus travel from Tiruppur, a textile hub in Western Tamil Nadu, all the way to Bihar.
With scores of them out of work after orders completely dried up in the textile town, migrants were left with fewer options for employment. Cash running out, workers had begun looking for options to exit the state. Those who did not register online to travel to their home states decided to look for buses to travel back.
Three buses accommodating 90 labourers started their journey from Tiruppur district on Thursday. In another batch, sixty workers had left for Bihar in buses just four days ago.
The migrants who departed from Tamil Nadu worked at the Netaji Apparel Park located at Perumanallur town within Tiruppur district. This apparel manufacturing cluster had a lot of migrant labourers from North and North Eastern states. The migrants had earlier protested on Salem-Coimbatore Highway demanding that they be sent back home, following which the police had conveyed their demands to the district administration. Only after the administration in-charge's assurance did the migrants call off their protest.
A senior official with the district administration said some groups decided to arrange their travel independent of the government's evacuation plans. The official, however, added that the state was aware of the plight of migrants and that trains have already plied from Tiruppur to Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and other states.
"Last week when we faced a few issues, we immediately arranged buses for the workers to be sent home-about 670 of them went to Rajasthan, Bihar and Andhra Pradesh. Since then, we have sent four trains to Bihar and two to UP and Odisha. We are planning to send a few more in the coming days. We are sending them based on their choices," the official added.
Tamil Nadu's chief minister Edappadi Palaniswami had said that the state would transport all willing migrants for a week beginning May 11 through a series of trains in a staggered manner.