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After days without work or money, he was finally headed home. But, the journey on one of India’s ‘Shramik Special’ trains ended in death, for a poor Indian migrant worker travelling to the state of Uttar Pradesh from Gujarat, last night. As saddened Twitter users shared news reports on Sunday, they said help came too late and too little, for India’s struggling internal migrant workers.

Kanhaiya, a 30-year-old resident of the Sitapur district, as he was identified later, was travelling from Dhola in Bhavnagar district of Gujarat to Lucknow in UP, according to an IANS report.

Lucknow’s Superintendent of Police (SP), Railways, Saumitra Yadav said they found him unconscious after the train reached the destination, and his co-passengers had already left. He said: "None of the passengers informed us of the man being sick. When the train reached Lucknow, the police noticed a man lying lifeless.”

Kanhaiya was rushed to the hospital, Yadav added: “The police rushed him to the Balarampur hospital where he was declared brought dead."

It took more than a month after the lockdown, for the Indian government to finally address the plight of poor migrants suffering across the country. The lockdown had caused them to lose their jobs, and left them without money or food. These workers who had come from India’s remote villages, to find jobs that would pay them meagre daily wages, decided to head back home. However, transport systems were also shut down, due to the coronavirus pandemic.

While thousands started walking back long distances, after the government allowed them to, many stayed back waiting for help to arrive.

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Reportedly, in March, the Indian government had promised that help would reach the poor labourers. India's finance minister, Nirmala Sitharaman, had then announced more than $22 billion (over Dh 80 billion) as coronavirus relief money. The government's top priority, she said is "for food to reach the poorest of the poor, and money to reach in the hands of those who need it immediately".

But, economists and analysts said that amount was not enough considering India’s estimated 100 million internal migrants. Indian news reports say, many didn’t receive any of the promised relief.

For nearly a month, journalists and citizens took to Twitter time and again to highlight the issue. Finally, in May, the Indian government arranged for “special” trains to transport poor helpless migrant workers in India, back to their villages. But, again, the migrant workers who were already facing abject poverty and hunger, were expected to pay for the tickets. The frequency of the trains was also said to be very less.

Kanhaiya would have been among the thousands of workers who have been waiting to get seats and head back.

No details about his illness could be ascertained, since his co-passengers had already left, according to police officials. The brother of the deceased man, reportedly, came to Lucknow from Sitapur and the body will be handed over to him after post-mortem.

Facebook user Samarth Singh posted: “Why did it take so long, and for so many people to die, before the government took this decision to open up transportation for these workers? Shouldn’t that have been one of the first questions to be addressed when deciding a lockdown?”

And, tweep @hashjaru wrote: “They arrange trains and buses. Then they cancel them. They help the migrant workers leave for home. But then they charge them a bomb. But wait, it's three-quarters paid for? Or no? Nobody knows the real truth. Nobody knows how the government machinations are working. We hope. We mourn. We move on.”

A article states that till now, 97 Shramik Special trains have returned to 36 stations across Uttar Pradesh, bringing back nearly 120,000 migrants in the last few days, according to UP’s Additional Chief Secretary, Avanish Awasthi.

Awasthi also told media that the state government has got permission to run 98 more trains in the next two days.