To reach home amid lockdown, 27 migrants from Odisha, Andhra escape in a boat
Though the initial plan was to anchor at Pati Sonapur beach, 10 km from Berhampur town of Ganjam district, they decided to anchor near the beach at Donkuru as a majority of the labourers were from Andhra Pradesh.Updated: Apr 21, 2020 00:42 IST
During the lockdown, migrant labourers in India have walked hundreds of kilometres back to their homes while a few others pedalled their way back after losing their source of livelihood.
On Monday morning, a group of 27 migrant labourers from Andhra Pradesh and Odisha who had gone to work in different factories of Chennai were perhaps the first lot of migrant labourers who escaped their workplace by the sea route. Travelling over 500 km the group of 27 reached the sea beach at Donkuru village close to the Odisha-Andhra border.
Ganjam district collector Vijay Amrita Kulange said the 27-member team of migrant labourers including 10 from Odisha had gone to Chennai to work in local factories there a few months ago. “After the lockdown was announced and their factories shut down, these labourers tried hard to go back to their homes. But in the absence of any transportation, they were stranded. After a few days they started to run out of their savings. They decided to pool in money so as to buy a fishing boat for Rs 2 lakh in which they decided to escape,” said Kulange.
Though the initial plan was to anchor at Pati Sonapur beach, 10 km from Berhampur town of Ganjam district, they decided to anchor near the beach at Donkuru as a majority of the labourers were from Andhra Pradesh. Soon after they anchored close to the Donkuru village they were taken to a quarantine centre in Rajampuram and Sompeta in Srikakulam.
The Srikakulam police said cases have been lodged against the 27 for defying lockdown. “These men will be tested for the coronavirus at the end of the 14 day quarantine period,” said circle inspector Vinod Babu of Srikakulam.
Officials said as the migrant labourers were from the fishermen community, they had no trouble at sea. “They had rice and other grocery items in the twin engine fishing boat. As they had mobile phones with them, navigation was not an issue,” said an official of Srikakulam.