Thousands of migrant workers leave Gujarat’s cities on foot or motorcycles
Facing lockdown and no work, major cities of Gujarat, including Surat, Ahmedabad and Vadodara, are witnessing an exodus of migrant workers leaving in the thousands, either walking or on motorbikes, with a complete shutdown of transportation services.
Local officials said over 5,000 motorcycles have left Surat. “Migrant workers from diamond and other sectors are leaving on motorbikes because factories are shut,” a senior official from Surat said.
From Ahmedabad too, thousands of migrant workers and daily wagers from the tribal belt of Gujarat and neighbouring Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan are leaving.
“We have reports of people leaving for their native places,” a State government official said. He added that police and some voluntary organisations are making arrangements for their food on highways as other places are closed due to lockdown.
In cities, all construction sites have been shut for indefinite periods, so more than 50,000 workers, mostly migrant labourers, have left for their native villages in the Godhara, Dahod districts of Gujarat, and Jhabua of Madhya Pradesh.
According to Gujarat Congress spokesman Manish Doshi, the Rajasthan government has made arrangements for migrant workers and hired buses to take them back.
Meanwhile, coronavirus cases jumped to 39 in the State on Wednesday.
Gujarat’s Principal Secretary-Health said in a Wednesday morning briefing that a total of 20,688 people were under quarantine in the State.
Of that, 430 are in government quarantine facilities, 38 patients are at private facilities, and 20,220 are in home quarantine, across the State.
An 85-year-old female patient at an Ahmedabad civil hospital late on Wednesday night, the second victim in the State. She had recently returned from Saudi Arabia. Earlier, a senior citizen from Surat was the first loss of life from the virus in the State.