After days of facing uncertainty in Mumbai, there was a sense of relief among 180 workers who arrived at Lucknow airport on Thursday morning by a special flight arranged by megastar Amitabh Bachchan.
Migrants hailing from Gonda, Ambedkar Nagar, Unnao and other parts of Uttar Pradesh were looking forward to reach their homes.
Emerging from the airport after due testing, Abdul Jalil Khan of Gonda, who lives in Bandra, north west Mumbai, said he had boarded the flight 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 UP natives.
“We were stranded since the lockdown began and there was nobody to help. We came to know that Amitabh Bachchanji was making arrangements through the Mahim trust and Haji Ali Dargah to help people return home and we filled the form,” Khan said.
“I am an imam at a mosque and pray for his long life,” Khan said.
Unnao’s Ilyas, who worked as a tailor in Bandra, 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.
Lucknow 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 took off for Allahabad, Gorakhpur and Varanasi.
The remaining two flights left for Lucknow and Allahabad on Thursday, sources close to Bachchan said.
The flights were organised on Bachchan’s directive by his close aide Rajesh Yadav, managing director, AB Corp Ltd, who collaborated with the Haji Ali Trust and the 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, also recently flagged off 10 buses for 300 migrants to reach their villages in Lucknow, Allahabad, Bhadohi and other places in Uttar Pradesh.