‘We don’t know how long it will take but we will walk’

Covid-19 has caused many scars and the most evident being the plight of thousands of migrant labourers walking back home. To understand their situation and to see the reality on the ground, The Daily Guardian travelled 50-100 km north of Hyderabad. After reaching National Highway 44, we saw thousands of helpless labourers carrying bags on their head in the scorching heat with small kids.

“We are going to Bareilly in Uttar Pradesh. We don’t know how long it will take. We have been on the road for long and some people are helping us with food and water. The distance is 2,000 km but it doesn’t matter,” said a migrant. Another man said, “No doubt there are trains but we can’t afford Rs 4,000 to reach our villages in trains.” The life on roads is even tougher for pregnant women.

Sobhadevi, who is 7-month pregnant from Bihar, said that as they have no work, they are moving back home. Meanwhile, some good Samaritans are coming out to help these people. Organisations like North Indian Marvadi Samaj are helping them with food and water on the road. Pikaram, a Marwadi Samaj volunteer, said, “To help a human is more than praying before God. So, we came here to distribute cooked food and if possible we will give money also.” There are about 15 lakh migrant labourers in Hyderabad.

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