Migrant Workers Walking Home – COVID19 Lockdown Crisis

This article was featured on Citizen Journalist website today: https://news.indiaonline.in/migrant-workers-walking-1000-kms-3150040

The COVID19 Corona Virus issue didn’t only create a medical issue but the resulting Lockdown has created a mass humanitarian crisis for the so-called lower class of India, how had nothing to do with the diseases, played no role in bringing the disease to India, but are the worst affected lot. Al over the country, we are seeing thousands of Migrants walking, traveling like cattle huddled in the back of trucks, or cycling just to reach home.

This has become daily news when we read about someone collapsing from exhaustion, or dying due to being hit by a speeding vehicle. The government has made tall claims of making free transportation available for such people, but the truth is a bit far from reality. On the roads of Gurgaon, I noticed many groups of such people walking with all their belongings on their head, their children clasped tight in their lap, looking for a way to reach home. With no money, food, water, shelter or job due to a knee jerk lockdown created by the Govt, they are left with no means to survive.

Yesterday, I met a family of migrants walking from Gurgaon to Chhattisgarh on foot that would really break one’s heart. With children in their laps, luggage over their heads and walking in the scorching sun with no help from government, this family told us that the free train is not a reality and all their attempts to seek help from Haryana and Chhattisgarh authorities have failed. With money running out and no transport available, they’re walking 1200 kms from Gurgaon to Chhattisgarh with young women and children.

Such is the apathy of authorities and the promises that haven’t seen the light of day. Is this what our society has come to? Ironically, there are trains running to transport people which have mineral water and testing kits ready at stations, but for poor migrant workers, there is no train, no water and no testing. Their only solace are good Samaritans who try to help and their feet. You can give them your cash and food as you speak to them but is that enough?

The pride in their eyes is commendable that they refused to take money or food before I forced them to accept it. If they’re lucky to not collapse from exhaustion and avoid getting hit by a speeding car, they might reach their destination alive. And the government’s show will go on.

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