Coronavirus outbreak: Migrant workers leave city, walk miles home amid lockdown

Updated: Mar 31, 2020, 10:55 | Saumya Gourisaria
  • Migrant workers on Mumbai-Ahmedabad highway

    After Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a 21-day lockdown, considerable panic arose among the people and migrant workers began walking home due to non-availability of any other means of transport and communication due to the lockdown.

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  • Migrant workers on Mumbai-Ahmedabad highway

    A large number of these labourers stay at the construction site and earn as daily wagers. During the harvest time, they go the fields to harvest crops in both rabi and kharif season. 

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  • Migrant workers on Mumbai-Ahmedabad highway

    They all are headed to their home states in what is generally referred to as Purvanhal, a belt of never-ending poverty. The labourers claim they have not got any help from the government as is being claimed on television.

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  • Migrant workers on Mumbai-Ahmedabad highway

    A number of them have been marching on foot, while some tried to make their way out of the state in goods trucks and tempos, but were caught during police checking.

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  • Migrant workers on Mumbai-Ahmedabad highway

    Instructed to implement the lockdown strictly, the police in several areas also lathi-charged them.

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  • Migrant workers on Mumbai-Ahmedabad highway

    They also meted out other forms of ‘punishment’ to those found walking on the roads by themselves, an act which may have broken the strict lockdown norm even if there was not necessarily any violation of the principle of social distancing.

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  • Migrant workers on Mumbai-Ahmedabad highway

    Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Sunday had assured that his government will take care of all migrant labourers and provide them basic necessities like food and water.

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  • Migrant workers on Mumbai-Ahmedabad highway

    He assured that the 'Shiv Bhojan' scheme offering meal at Rs 10 will now be available at Rs 5 from April 1. Thackeray said the state has already set up 163 centres across the state to provide food and water to migrant labourers.

     
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  • Migrant workers on Mumbai-Ahmedabad highway

    Uddhav Thackeray said, "The state will protect them and provide food, but they should not leave their place. I understand that they are anxious but they should not leave. They should avoid increasing the risk of infection."

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  • Migrant workers on Mumbai-Ahmedabad highway

    However, nearly 17 migrant labourers and their family members, which includes five children died while trying to return home.

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  • Migrant workers on Mumbai-Ahmedabad highway

    According to reports, Punjab, Haryana and Telangana are among the worst-hit by the flight of migrant labourers in the times of rabi harvest. These states heavily depend on the migrant labour force for harvesting, loading and unloading of their produce for transportation.

     
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  • Migrant workers on Mumbai-Ahmedabad highway

    One of the migrants said, "The government has not arranged for any food for us. We are surviving only because of the kindness of the locals."

     
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  • Migrant workers on Mumbai-Ahmedabad highway

    In picture: Migrant labourers on Mumbai-Ahmedabad highway as they head home in the middle of nationwide lockdown due to COVID-19 outbreak in India.

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  • Migrant workers on Mumbai-Ahmedabad highway

    In picture: Following the Coronavirus lockdown, another group of migrant workers on their way home. 

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About The Gallery

After Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a nation-wide lockdown for 21 days, migrant labourers across India set on foot to go home. Despite measures being annouced, the labourers claimed they have not got any help from the government. 

Pics/Suresh Karkera