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Million migrants return home for Chhath


Patna: Bihar is witnessing the return of its natives in droves. A million migrants are back at their villages and towns over the past week or so to celebrate Chhath festival, the biggest community celebration, along with their families and relatives.

According to a conservative estimate, over one million Bihar migrants working across the country as well as abroad have returned home to infuse “new life” into the festivities.

Even Biharis who are rich and famous, as well as professionals from different fields, have made a beeline for the state for the festival.

“Most migrants have returned in the last one week while thousands are still on the way. Many failed to make it as there was no place in long-route trains,” a labour department official said.

“We have come to celebrate Chhath with our family, relatives and friends,” said Mukesh Rai, in his mid-40s. He reached the Patna railway station on Monday evening, on way to his village in neighbouring Vaishali district.

Mukesh works in a garment export factory in Ludhiana in Punjab.

“After arriving in Patna from virtually every part of India, they are boarding packed buses and trains to reach their villages across the state,” said Bhola Singh, who works as a supervisor in a cement factory in Gujarat.

According to officials at the East Central Railway headquarters at Hajipur near Patna, 1.5 to 2 lakh passengers have been arriving everyday in Bihar from across the country in more than 250 trains since last week to celebrate Chhath.

“All trains from Delhi, Bengaluru, Kolkata, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Chennai, Pune, Chandigarh, Surat and Ahmedabad are packed to capacity, thanks to a huge rush for Chhath,” a railway official said.

The return of thousands of Bihar natives, most of whom are migrant workers outside the state, to rural Bihar has certainly put smiles back on the faces of their old parents, and kith and kin.

Not only this, it also has provided fresh impetus to socio-economic activities. Savings brought along by the migrants has meant their families are spending more on both essentials and fancy goods and thus the state economy i9s getting a boost, spurred by Chhath purchases.

So, it is not just the families but also traders and shopkeepers in the countryside who are eagerly awaiting the arrival of sons of soil for the Chhath.

The four-day festival devoted to the Sun god began on Sunday and ends on Wednesday morning.

Celebrated six days after Diwali, during the festival married women observe fast for 36 hours while devotees offer wheat, milk, sugar cane, bananas and coconuts to gods.

“We are lucky to arrive here. Now we can enjoy Chhath with our family,” a group of migrant workers who returned from Andhra Pradesh said.

Most migrants from Bihar are concentrated in Punjab, Delhi, Haryana, Assam, Rajasthan and Gujarat. Cities such as Mumbai, Chennai, Bangalore, Kolkata and Pune have a sizeable number of people from Bihar.


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Iran invites Pakistan to join Chabahar project with India

India, Iran and Afghanistan signed a trilateral agreement in 2016

Chabahar Port is of great international significance in terms of trade, especially for India. Wikimedia Commons
Chabahar Port is of great international significance in terms of trade, especially for India. Wikimedia Commons
  • Iran has invited Pakistan to join Chabahar port project
  • It is a very crucial port of great importance
  • India, Iran and Afghanistan have already signed a trilateral agreement in 2016

Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif has invited Pakistan to participate in the Chabahar Port project that connects India to Afghanistan, Central Asia and Eastern Europe, a leading Pakistani daily reported on Tuesday.

Chabahar Port is built and operated by India. Wikimedia Commons

The move may be seen as Zarif’s bid to allay concerns here over the Indian involvement in the Iranian port, Dawn online reported. The Iranian minister also, meanwhile, extended the invitation to China.

“We offered to participate in the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). We have also offered Pakistan and China to participate in Chahbahar,” Zarif, who is on a three-day visit to Pakistan, said while delivering a lecture at the Institute of Strategic Studies Islamabad (ISSI) on Monday, according to the daily.

India, Iran and Afghanistan signed a trilateral agreement in 2016 to jointly develop the Chabahar port, opening a new strategic transit route between the three nations and other Central Asian nations, bypassing Pakistan. In November 2017, India delievered the first consignment of wheat to Afghanistan through the Chabahar Port.

Also Read: All You Need To Know About India’s Strategic Chabahar Port

Zarif had earlier held bilateral talks with his Pakistani counterpart Khawaja Asif and addressed a trade conference. The visiting Foreign Minister is being accompanied by a large trade delegation from Iran.

He also said that Gwadar Port and Chabahar Port needed to be linked through sea and land routes for development of deprived Eastern and South-eastern Iran and South Western Pakistan. “We are taking measures to do that and there is an open invitation to Pakistan to participate in that,” Zarif said.

Chabahar Port will make India's trade with Afghanistan easier. Wikimedia Commons
Chabahar Port will make India’s trade with Afghanistan easier. Wikimedia Commons

He also said that the Chabahar port project was not meant to “encircle Pakistan … strangulate anybody”, adding that Iran would not allow anybody to hurt Pakistan from its territory, much like Pakistan would not allow its soil to be used against Iran.

Zarif likened Iran’s relations with India to Pakistan’s ties with Saudi Arabia. “Our relations with India, just like Pakistan’s relations with Saudi Arabia, are not against Islamabad as we understand Pakistan’s relations with Saudi Arabia are not against Iran.” IANS

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