The group of migrant workers that had left Hyderabad for Jharkhand four days ago, called up yesterday. They said they had managed to trek up to Ambikapur in Chhattisgarh. That translated to 1100 km. To reach home in Sahibgunj, they would need to travel another 700 km.
“We are absolutely exhausted. Please help. We cannot walk any more,” said the person on the line.
“Did you manage to eat on the way?”
“Just one samosa in the morning. Nothing else.”
Officials would blame these migrants for being restless. After all, if they had waited another day or two, they could have been among the 11000-odd migrants who could have boarded one of the special trains that K Chandrasekhar Rao got operated out of various railway stations in Hyderabad. But with the workers receiving no pay, running out of cash and depending on charity, they decided on the difficult option of the walkathon.
But when they finally reach their home state, there is no guarantee they would be let in. Many states have shut doors to their own coming in from other states. This is because of a fear they could be asymptomatic Covid carriers.
The fear is not unfounded. Three migrants who had walked into Telangana from Mumbai were tested at the border and were found positive.
Much worse was in store for labourers who were heading to Chhattisgarh. According to news reports, they were reportedly sleeping on the railway track near Aurangabad in Maharashtra when they were crushed to death by a goods train on the Aurangabad-Jalna railway line.
Categories: Human interest blogs