With no money, a woman, her daughter and five goats tried to to walk from Madurai to Erode

The 30-year-old with her daughter

The 30-year-old with her daughter   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

The 30-year-old decided to make the 200 km journey to go to her husband, the main breadwinner of the family

A 30 year-old woman, her five-year-old daughter and their five goats began walking to Erode from their house in Melur on Friday morning, only to be stopped at Vadipatti check-post the same day and sent back home in a car.

S. Mahalakshmi, a resident of Keelavalavu village, said that she set out to cover the distance of over 200 km to meet her husband, Sivakumar who has a disability, and who was unable to come back home during the lockdown.

“I didn't have any money left. My child was crying. I had no idea what to do. And so I left,” she said. Ms. Mahalakshmi said she survived the first month by herding goats but realised that she could not handle any further expenses. “There is no water supply to my house as well. I had to wait for two days for a tanker to come and provide us a pot for ₹30. I heard that life was much better in Erode. The only way to survive was to go to my husband,” she said.

She had heard that migrants were walking all the way from Chennai to West Bengal. So she had the confidence to complete her journey. She said that the aim was to meet her husband as he was the main breadwinner of the family.

Ms. Mahalakshmi said that she first walked towards Melur to sell her daughter’s silver anklets, her last remaining piece of jewellery for ₹1,000. She said that she needed enough money to last till Erode. When she was stopped at Melur, she thought she would walk to Arapalayam bus stand and catch a bus to Erode.

“I had forgotten that buses were not plying. I stopped at Vadipatti check post to ask the police personnel for directions but they said that I should not travel without permission from the district administration. They redirected me to the Collector’s office,” she said.

And then some officials at the Collectorate and the district Red Cross team assisted her by providing her with 20 kg rice, pulses and oil to last the month. They also drove her, her child and goats back home in a car.

Madurai Red Cross secretary M. Gopalakrishnan said that they are also making arrangements to try and bring her husband back in a Red Cross van that regularly travels between the two districts.

“Until then, we must wait,” she said.

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Printable version | May 28, 2020 10:24:49 PM |

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