COVID-19: Rajasthan migrants walk home from Gujarat

Coronavirus Lockdown: Rajasthan migrant workers walk home from Gujarat

On Wednesday, a group of around 40 to 50 workers were left puzzled when district administration tried to detain them as they were defying the complete lockdown. (Credit: DH Photo)

In the past three to four days since state government invoked partial lockdown and then 21-day complete lockdown following the announcement by prime minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday, thousands of migrant workers from neighbouring Rajasthan have left for home walking and hitchhiking with all transport facilities taken off the road.

The mass exodus of the daily wager, mostly construction workers and domestic help, with their families is visible along the road from Ahmedabad to Himmatnagar in bordering Sabarkantha district to Dungarpur and Udaipur in Rajasthan. Police of two border districts told DH that with all hotels and restaurants closed, these workers find it hard to have food or even water along the road spread in nearly 200 to 250 km.

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On Wednesday, a group of around 40 to 50 workers were left puzzled when district administration tried to detain them as they were defying the complete lockdown. Sources said that after police officers intervened, they were allowed to go. Sources said the group was stopped for few hours and then permitted to leave. 

"There is nothing that we could have done in Ahmedabad. We were told by our contractor to leave after paying me barely half of my salary. I left Ahmedabad on Monday and reached home at Dungarpur on Tuesday night. We must have walked for 100 km in the scorching heat, while rest of the journey we somehow manged to travel in two pick up trucks carrying vegetables," said Ramesh Pargi who works as a construction worker in Narol.

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

"We are providing them food packets, water and even masks and arranging vehicles as much as we can. Their number is in thousands and we are finding it difficult to deal with it. They are coming from Surat, Ahmedabad and many other places and going as far as Kumbalgadh, Udaipur, Dungarpur, Banswara among other places," said a police officer posted in Himmatnagar requesting not to be quoted since there is "no guidelines from the state government on how to deal this situation."

When contacted, Aravalli District Superintendent of Police Mayur Patil told DH, "For the past two-three days, we are witnessing thousands of people walking home to Rajasthan. We are trying to help them with water and food and counsel them to maintain hygiene. We are also giving them masks so that they don't get infected."

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