COVID-19 lockdown: 14 workers walk from Jaipur to Bihar

Amid COVID-19 lockdown, 14 workers walk from Jaipur to Bihar

Migrant workers walk along a road to return to their villages, during a 21-day nationwide lockdown to limit the spreading of coronavirus disease, in New Delhi. (Credit: Reuters Photo)

Last month, Sudhir Kumar and his 13 other friends from Bihar got a job at a cold storage in Jaipur. They had hardly worked for 25 days when the Rajasthan government, followed by Centre, announced a complete lockdown in the wake of COVID-19.

The cold storage was eventually shut down after the government issued an order for closure of all business establishments. The 14 new labourers were paid Rs 2,000 each by the owner and were asked to return to their home state.

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"But in Jaipur, it was a curfew-like situation as no vehicle was plying after the state government announced a complete lockdown on March 21. The Railways had announced no passenger or mail trains would run from Sunday/Monday. There were no buses or other transport vehicles either. Left with no other choice, we 14 labourers started for Bihar on foot,” said Sudhir to a vernacular daily.

He dwelt at length how he faced numerous hardships while walking down from Jaipur to Lucknow via Agra. "Most of the road-side dhabas were closed. We ate whatever was available. We would stop at line hotels during night hours for rest and then restart our onward journey for Bihar, which is more than 1000 km from Jaipur," he said, adding that the group was presently crossing Uttar Pradesh after five days of ‘travel on foot’.

Also Read: Coronavirus India update: State-wise total number of confirmed cases

Youths in isolation wards

Meanwhile, 45 youths, who worked in Tamil Nadu, after returning to Aurangabad in Bihar, were asked by the villagers to quarantine themselves in a primary school as a precautionary measure. "These youths should not feel as if they have been isolated. It’s just a preventive measure to quarantine them for a fortnight at the isolation ward prepared by the Village Development Committee," said local leader Randhir Paswan.

In the meantime, more than 200 persons, mostly migrant workers, reached Mithapur bus stand in Patna in search of buses. Since plying of commercial vehicles have been banned amid lockdown, these migrant workers stayed put at the bus stand.

It was only when the locals complained to the police about the gathering of so many people at a particular place, the police rushed in and dispersed them. Many such migrant labourers eventually preferred to walk down to their ancestral homes in North Bihar on Thursday. 

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