Hitch-hiking in search of a job

The men hailing from Ramanathapuram walking to Tiruchi in search of job opportunities.

The men hailing from Ramanathapuram walking to Tiruchi in search of job opportunities.   | Photo Credit: HandOut

Three men hailing from Ramanathapuram walked and hitched rides to Tiruchi in search of work during the lockdown. The trio, who had lost their jobs in their home town, decided to move to a bigger city.

J. P. Raja, a 30-year-old man hailing from Mandapam, in Ramanathapuram, says he was a social worker working with NGOs and other civil society groups. “I had been helping people for over two years and now there is nobody to help me,” he said. He was asked to quit before the lockdown and for the last 50 days, he has no food to eat and nowhere to go.

Mr. Raja met two others, M. Akbar and I. Chako, in Ramanathapuram. They were working at restaurants in the district but were rendered jobless as restaurants shut. Together, they decided to walk to some place where they would get a job. “We did not really have a plan as where to go. We just left Ramanathapuram,” Mr. Raja said.

Nearly a month ago, they began walking and were stopped by police personnel in Ramanathapuram town. Thermal scanners were used on them to take tests for COVID-19 after which they were admitted to a quarantine facility there.

After spending 15 days at the facility, they were discharged and asked to return home. The men, however, had other plans. Mr. Raja said that the authorities told them that if they left the district, they would not be allowed to return. “We did not want to go back as we have nothing left for us there. We wanted jobs.”

They hitched a ride on a truck coming towards Tiruchi on Friday and were dropped off near the Tiruchi International Airport on Saturday morning. From Tiruchi airport, they decided to walk to the city in search of work or head towards Villupuram, where they believed they had job opportunities.

Onlookers informed the district authorities after which the men were picked up and accommodated at a shelter run by an NGO in the city. “We told them that they will not find any jobs during the lockdown. However, we have asked an NGO to see if they can get them some job at least till the lockdown ends,” a health official said.

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Printable version | May 28, 2020 5:57:45 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Tiruchirapalli/hitch-hiking-in-search-of-a-job/article31608429.ece

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