The Bihar Post

Stranded Indian migrant workers walk miles on foot to reach home after Corona lock-down


PATNA—With thousands of labourers and daily wagers left stranded in the aftermath of 21-day nationwide lockdown enforced to combat the Coronavirus and the local government failing to come to their support, these hapless groups of people have left for their homes walking on foot, carrying little bundles of their belongings on their heads.

The unending crowds of the poor walking empty belly on foot and profusely sweating in the sweltering heat present a heart-moving scene on the deserted roads and streets of Bihar.

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Although the state government has announced financial assistance for the migrant labourers and others impacted by the lockdown, the situation on the ground remains entirely different.

Of all, the man who deserves special mention here is Ganesh Sahni, a resident of Kothia village under Tetaria block in East Champaran district. Sahni who pulled paddle rickshaw on the streets of busy Haryana’s Gurugram for years found himself in a critical situation when the landlord threw him out of his rented room after Tuesday lockdown.

With not enough money to survive and city closed after lockdown, he ultimately decided to leave for his village home by driving rickshaw himself. Eventually he reached his home on Wednesday, covering some 1,000 KM distance in six days.

“I had no option other than reaching home on rickshaw as the landlord refused to give me shelter. I reached home eating little food I could have managed midway,” Sahni said. He said he would have been left starving on the deserted streets had he not reached his home.

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Sahni was fortunate that he had a rickshaw at least to walk fast but thousands of labourers in Bihar have been walking on foot for days to reach their homes in various parts of Bihar after the nationwide lockdown.

Yesterday, a group of 20 labourers who worked at a construction site at Patna were found trekking along the road in Hajipur town to reach Madhepura, their home town, some 283 km from the state capital.

“We worked as a mason and labourers at a construction site in Patna but after lockdown, the contractor shutdown works and asked us to go. We found ourselves nowhere since all sorts of transport services were closed. So we decided to reach home on foot,” said a shocked Ranjit Sahni. He added he would at least get bread and salt at home.

Likewise, around 100 labourers were caught on camera walking on foot to reach their home some 250 km away in Bhagalpur. These labourers too worked at a construction site in Patna but were told to vacate the rented room after lockdown. So they had no option to go home on foot in the absence of any transportation facilities.

Even more shocking was the case of another hundreds of labourers slowly and steadily trekking on side path to reach their home some 280 km away. According to them, they eked out their living working as labourers in Dumraon town in Buxur district but after lockdown they went jobless.

With not enough money to survive and all transport services suspended the hapless labourers left for their home in Lakhisarai district on foot. At many places, the cops misbehaved with them for walking despite lockdown. “Who cares for us? We are poor and labourers,” commented Babloo Kumar, a labour in the group.

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