At a time when migrant labourers across the country are struggling to survive and
return home, here is a story of two extraordinary women who have travelled 1,500 km from Vishakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh to reach their homes in North Dinajpur, West Bengal. Pooja and Amrita were unknown to each other when they began their journey from Vishakhapatnam on foot. Both of them pregnant, they wanted to give birth to their babies in “a homely atmosphere” away from
any shadow of apprehension and fear.
Their husbands work in unorganised sector and are now jobless. Having run out of
money, they decided to do the unthinkable. Both Pooja and Amrita — with their respective families and a group of people — started walking five days ago from Andhra Pradesh and reached Ghatal in West Bengal›s West Midnapore district. But their plight is yet to end, as they have to cover more than 500 km to reach their destination.
With very scanty ration left and even less energy, with blisters on their feet, a local
club and administration came to their help and arranged for food and temporary
shelters. When I met my doctor for seeking advice before the journey, the doctor was shocked and did not permit me to travel on foot. But desperate times needed desperate measures. In order to avoid starvation and to save the baby, we decided to walk,” Pooja said.
The extraordinary courage of the two women has once again exposed the tall claims of the government. More so at a time when opposition parties in West Bengal have been urging the state to allow trains to bring migrants back.