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Migrant workers brave heat, battle hunger as they walk towards their hometowns

By Dheeraj Bengrut, Pune
PUBLISHED ON MAR 30, 2020 08:56 PM IST

The lockdown sparked an exodus of tens of thousands of migrant workers, mainly daily wagers who lost their livelihoods, from the cities to their homes. In the absence of public transport, many started walking hundreds of kilometres across district borders, posing the threat that Covid-19 may spread to rural India. On Monday, workers were seen walking along the Pune-Satara highway (NH4) along with their families, including small children.

Gopi Pawar, a worker from Mumbai who was walking along with his wife and two kids, said, “We started walking from Jogeshwari, Mumbai, two days ago and want to reach our village in Solapur. Somehow, we reached Pune and someone misguided us and we travelled in a truck going towards Kolhapur. So, now we are returning to Pune and will find another way to go back to our village. We do not have enough money and resources to survive in a city.”

Similarly, Suresh Pawar and his family, who are walking towards his hometown, said,“Our legs are paining, children have been crying constantly and we just want to get back to our village. Police officials are everywhere and we are somehow managing to walk through the highways and want reach to our village in Solapur.”

Spotting people walking through the highway, some of the local villagers of Kasurdi village on NH 4 came forward to help them. Villagers gave them water bottles and biscuit packets for children. The workers were desperately trying to get a lift from trucks and tempos to travel the distance, but no one was stopping for them.

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