Britain’s Slum dog Flyover with enormous trucks past only feet away, dirty camp of the homeless, hopeless migrants whose dream of a new life went acrid. They live in places that can be termed “Britain’s Illegal Slum-dog Dwellings”
It is dawn over Heathrow airport and, nearby it is time to wake up and start searching for a job.
While everybody is still sleeping, the movement of cars has already started to make noise along the M4, sending tremors through to the base.
It has not been easy sleeping at down here on the solid blocks. It is very cold, and there are empty cans of strong lager jerking around the floor, and the living areas. These areas are dirtier than the developing countries shantytown.
Some men who stay under the flyover might be lucky to get a job sometimes while others just roam around the streets
Punjab: This is a dirty community of illegal immigrants who are homeless, jobless and hopeless. The men living under this Bridge are called the Bridge men of Heston a community sleeping rough beneath a motorway flyover.
More than 30 of them can often be found here, in full view of pedestrians and traffic on the road that passes under the bridge, and less than 20 yards from the nearest houses.
This is a breathtaking picture of what happens when dreams of faking a superior life in Britain take a different turn or go bitter. However, maybe the amazing thing is that most of those living in Little Punjab have been living here for nearly or over two years without being forced to leave. These people are depending mostly on charity and goodwill to survive.
Although some people make the effort to wake up and go look for a job on daily basis, most seem content to spend the day sleeping on soaked blanket or passing the time in cold, repulsively dirty and sluggish.
These pair sleeps on uninterrupted yards from thundering traffic, apparently unable or unwilling to find work or shelter.
These men surely need help! If they are legal residents, then something needs to be done about their situation; but if they are illegal immigrants then they need help to go back to their country if they cannot get one here.
According to one of the men who were living under the bridge before, Mehtab whose name means “light of the moon” said “these were the ‘drunks and drug men’ who simply stayed in Little Punjab all day, stirring only when kindly passers-by delivered food and water, or when yobs hurled missiles and abuse from cars.”
He added that he had gone to look for work in the morning but was not selected from the candidates who assemble in a car park near Southall’s landmark Sikh temple.
He claims he was deceived into coming to Britain with the the hope of getting a job two years ago – only to realize that his papers were fake as the promises that were made to him back home. Now he had no paperwork, passport or visa – and therefore no hope of work.
It is dawn and the cars start to make noise beneath the motorway bridge.
If we do not get resident permit to stay, then we have no chance. While he was talking, another Bridge Man urinated against the railings in full view of people waiting at a bus stop across the road.
The toilet area is a short trek away in some scrubland, but the ground is thick with excrement and rotting litter, so rank that even the foxes steer clear of it at night. Bathroom facilities beneath the bridge consist of a bottle of anti-bacterial hand-wash strung up on a fence. I accidentally trod on a hidden hand as I went to use it – with so little reaction from its owner that it could have belonged to a corpse.
The police, the UK Border Agency and local authorities have long been aware of the Bridge Men of Little Punjab, which takes its nickname from Southall, widely known as Britain’s Little India.
According to a community leader in that area, he said ‘the UK government and Indian High Commission was ‘well aware of the problem’, but added: ‘Everyone seems to have gone to sleep. No one does anything about it. If they are here legally, help them. If they are not, then help them to get back.’
Sleeping city: Most of the Bridge Men of Heston are thought to be illegal immigrants, but some have come to Britain legally and been left homeless.
Another said: ‘This is one of the most advanced countries in the world – yet people are left to live in inhuman conditions on its doorstep.’ Although most Bridge Men are thought to be illegal immigrants, some are known to have come to Britain legally with visas which have since expired.
One arrived more than a decade ago as a teenager but lost his job and fell out with his family. Now his home is a sleeping bag.
Some find food at the Sikh temple, which provides meals for up to 1,000 needy people a day. Others simply wander the streets.
One neighbour, who has lived in the area for more than half a century and can see the bridge from her window, complained to Heston Residents’ Association about piles of rubbish building up around the site, and regularly sees young men ‘moping around half drunk’, as she put it.
‘I sometimes wonder if there’s anywhere else in the civilised world where this would be allowed to happen,’ she said.
‘I asked the council what they were going to do about it. They said they had delivered a letter translated into Punjabi about a voluntary repatriation scheme. Surprise, surprise – it doesn’t seem to have done the trick.’
The Daily Mail UK
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