Strange as it may sound but Jamlo Madkam’s death has undoubtedly brought relief for thousands of migrant workers from central and north Indian States who have set out for their distant homes on foot from various parts of Telangana and States further south. They are now able to cover a better part of their journey hitching a ride on trucks with the active support of authorities.
The death of the 12-year old girl, a migrant worker from Chattisgarh due to dehydration on April 18, has jolted the conscience of authorities. Instead of holding them back, authorities are now requesting crews of lorries passing on the NH 44 to carry the migrant labourers on their long journey home.
Making it easy
“We were told about the death of a girl after she walked for three days under the hot sun. We do not want any such incident to happen here. So, we are trying to facilitate as smooth an onward travel as possible,” revealed a police officer manning a check post.
Until just a few days back, policemen manning the same check post used to intercept vehicles transporting migrant workers and send them, even as far back as 100 km. There are a few instances of authorities detaining trucks for transporting humans during the last 15 days
The long march home
A group of workers headed by Temal Lal Sahu, a mason from Parsoda village in Balod district of Chattisgarh who used to work in Uppal in Hyderabad, had reached Adilabad on Wednesday morning riding on the carriage of a lorry, his fourth such ride in the last two days. Similarly, Manoj Kumar Vishwakarma, a carpenter from Prayag Raj (formerly Allahabad) in Uttar Pradesh working in Nizampet, also reached the Pipparwada toll plaza, about three kilometres from the inter-State border that Adilabad district shares with Yavatmal of Maharashtra on the NH 44, by hitching rides on trucks.
“We walked for about 100 km before policemen at some place on the NH had us loaded on a truck and we were dropped off about 50 km away. We were given a lift two more times before we reached this place,” Mr. Vishwakarma recalled.
For some migrants taking rides was a bitter experience. “One driver demanded ₹ 500 from each of us for dropping us just 20 km ahead,” remembered Anil Kumar Sengar, a mason from Balaghat in Madhya Pradesh.