Allahabad's Airport Director Sunil Yadav said, “This A 320 airbus of IndiGo has brought a total of 180 passengers from Mumbai.
After days of facing uncertainty in Mumbai, there was a sense of relief among the 180 migrant workers who arrived here on Thursday morning by a special flight arranged by megastar Amitabh Bachchan. Migrants hailing from Gonda, Ambedkar Nagar, Unnao and other parts in Uttar Pradesh were looking forward to reaching their homes.
Coming out of the Chaudhary Charan Singh International Airport after screening, Abdul Jalil Khan of Gonda who lives in Bandra in Mumbai, said he was returning home with his wife and children. Khan said he failed to register for a train journey and then came to know that Bachchan was making travel arrangements for migrants in the area.
“We were stranded there since the lockdown began and there was nobody to help. We came to know that Amitabh Bachchanji is making arrangements through Mahim trust and Haji Ali Dargah for helping people return home and we filled the form. I am an imam at a mosque and would pray for his long life,” Khan said.
Unnao’s Ilyas, who worked as a tailor in Bandra area, said he got to know about the flight from a friend and applied.
“There was no money and we were facing issues even for food. I was trying to get a train ticket but now, we got the chance to travel by air. Thank God and Amitabh saheb for sending me back to my family,” he said.
Airport director A K Sharma said 180 passenger arrived by the special flight. There were six flights scheduled to take off from Mumbai and on Wednesday four flights with about 700 people left for Allahabad, Gorakhpur and Varanasi.
The remaining two flights left for Lucknow and Allahabad on Thursday, sources close to the actor said.
The flights were organised on Bachchan’s directive by his close aide Rajesh Yadav, managing director of his home production company AB Corp Ltd, who collaborated with Haji Ali Trust and Mahim Dargah trust under ‘Mission Milap’ to send migrants home.
The actor originally wanted to book a train for the migrants but decided to arrange for special flights after logistics for train travel did not work out.
Yadav, on Bachchan’s behalf, had also recently flagged off 10 buses for 300 migrants to reach their villages in Lucknow, Allahabad, Bhadohi and other places in Uttar Pradesh.
The coronavirus-triggered lockdown, which began on March 25, left lakhs of migrants stranded in different parts of the country. With no money and no work, many walked, cycled or hitchhiked their way to villages hundreds, sometimes thousands, of kilometres away.