After the 21-day lockdown was announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to fight COVID-19, migrant labours from Bihar have been the worst affected. Labourers are leaving their workplace after losing jobs, and with no means of livelihood, returning back home either on foot or by other means of transportation.
Republic TV caught up with one such group of labourers on the National Highway in Patna who were commuting on a "Motorable Thela" from Kanpur to Begusarai in Bihar, which is 800 km. They started their journey three days ago from Kanpur and after getting the tank of the Motorable Thela filled, it runs up to 150 km
Ram Janam a labourer said that "we lost our job in Kapur and had nothing to eat. With no means of transportation, we started our journey back home on this thela so that we can reach home safely .we have been commuting for the past 3 days."
Another labourer Sanjay Kumar said "At one go this motorable Thela gives a mileage of 150 km in 5 litres. We have kept a gallon and whenever we see a petrol pump, we fill the gallon with 5 litres of petrol and then start our journey. During nights we sleep on the roadside. It's better to go back home than dying because of hunger," he added.
The pictures and videos of migrant labourers flocking at Anand Vihar Bus Terminal in Delhi and labours walking back home with family and kids, on the National highways have shaken the nation. Labours have been the worst affected due to COVID-19 lockdown, as they would earn on a daily basis.
Delhi and Uttar Pradesh government arranged buses for migrant labourers, to send them back to Bihar, which was opposed by Nitish Kumar citing it as a violation of Lockdown announced by PM Modi.