“This is the first time that I walked many kms in my life. I have been walking for the last three days and I don’t know how many days it will take for me to reach my village,” says a 25-year-old Sulochana, who is seen stumbling by carrying a bag on her shoulders.
Her husband Nagaraju accompanied her and is seen carrying a child in his lap and the family look so tired. The couple, who went to West Godavari district in search of work during the Rabi harvest season, are returning to their village in Krishna district by walk. They travelled more than 100 km.
Another family, who are struck in Prakasam district during the lockdown, are seen walking on the National Highway. “My sister is suffering from fever as she is walking continuously. My brother-in-law suffers swelling of both his foot. We don’t know whether we will reach our village or not or die in the middle due to heatwave. Owing to lockdown, we could not find hotels or any help from villagers,” says a labourer, Pydi Madhu.
A few migrant labourers of the neighbouring Telangana, Odisha, and Tamil Nadu States are seen walking hundreds of kms to reach their villages. They fear extension of lockdown after April 14.
“A man is seen walking with a two-year-old child on his shoulder at Gollapudi on Friday. He is walking towards Jaggaiahpet in Krishna district. The child is in dehydrated condition and need immediate treatment. We offered water and food to them and the labourer continued his trek,” says a woman Marthamma.
Police manning the check-post at Kodikonda in Ananthapur district have told DGP Gautam Sawang that 300 labourers , who came from Bengaluru, have been stopped and sent back after giving information on rehabilitation centres arranged in Karnataka for migrant labourers.
“We have sent back about 500 people of Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh. Police provided food and sent them back by arranging vehicles,” the police have told Mr. Sawang.
The Tada police, who have been guarding the check-post on AP-Tamil Nadu borders, say every day, more than 50 labourers who come by walk from Chennai, are being sent back. Same is the situation with the Telangana borders in East Godavari district, says SI Sagar, who has been posted at the check-post in the Agency area.
“Panicky over lockdown, curfew-like situation and closure of industries, many labourers are returning to their villages by travelling hundreds of kilometres.