As Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced about the Central government giving attention to migrant workers’ crisis at this time, several news of migrant workers’ current plight, broke the Internet. With thousands of workers across India walking to their villages amid the lockdown due to high rail fares or unavailability of forms amid the COVID-19 pandemic, a mother of three walked all the way to Panna, Madhya Pradesh from Surat in Gujarat, carrying her disabled son. Also Read - COVID-19 Weekly Wrap | Nearly 50,000 Cases Reported in India in Last 7 Days; Experts Blame Lockdown Relaxations
As per a report in IANS, Rajkumari, a resident of Majhgawan village in Satna, had gone to Surat with her three sons in search of employment. With the daily wages being cut off amid the nationwide lockdown, Rajkumari’s meagre savings soon dried up within the two months. left with no option but to walk back home, she prepared a palanquin made out of a single bamboo stick and put her disabled son in it, wrapped in a cloth. Also Read - Three-Phase Unlock 1.0 From Tomorrow: States Decide Dos List, Centre Clears Don'ts List
Rajkumari walked 1100 km from Surat to Satna with her three sons, one of them disabled. She told the news agency about her arduous journey where they sometimes got food on the way, sometimes lived on empty stomachs but did not stop walking. The family of four even got a ride for a few kilometres. Also Read - Coronavirus: As Second-Last Day of Lockdown 4.0 Ends, Here's Where The Four Most-Affected States Stand
It was only when she reached Panna, on her way to Satna, that some social workers came forward to help her after being stunned to see her carrying the palanquin. A local journalist there gave the information about the woman and her disabled son to the local administration and soon arrangements were made to provide help.
A resident of Panna said, “When I saw the woman coming with her son dangling from the stick palanquin, I was moved. We gave her food and some money. Tahsildar Deepa Chaturvedi came and took the woman to the isolation centre. Then arrangements were made to drop her to her village in a government vehicle.”
It is interesting to note that despite the promises of arranging buses and trains for the stranded daily wagers, worst hit by the pandemic, many continue to be deprived of the tall claims of the authorities since the migrant workers continue to cover insane distances on foot to their home villages.