Leaking pipeline valves, dried streams help migrant workers

In the long walk home they keep away from main roads to avoid police

Published - April 17, 2020 08:51 pm IST - ADILABAD

Migrant workers filling water bottles from a leaking Mission Bhagiratha pipeline valve on NH 44 in Adilabad.

Migrant workers filling water bottles from a leaking Mission Bhagiratha pipeline valve on NH 44 in Adilabad.

For the hundreds of migrant workers who are walking towards their distant homes, leaking water pipeline valves and bridges on NH 44 and dried-up streams along the route in former united Adilabad district are coming in handy in their arduous journey.

While the leaking valves have become a major source of drinking water for the migrants, the workers are hiding themselves under high-level bridges and under shady trees on the banks of streams some distance away from the road to escape not only the torturing day temperature but more importantly the notice of police who, invariably send them back to places from where they have come, if caught.

“We are resting here so that no one notices us. We will start again after it gets dark,” asserted Saheblal Pache, head of a group of 20 construction workers hiding under a railway over bridge near NH 44 Chanda (T) junction.

This group, which includes three women and three toddlers, has covered about 330 km from Hyderabad and needs to go 450 km more to reach their home town Balaghat in Madhya Pradesh. “It may take us a few more days to reach home but we do not want to be caught by authorities here,” he asserted.

Some sympathetic policemen have advised the workers to stick to the railway lines until they cross over into Maharashtra via the long high-level bridge across river Penganga, roughly 19 km away. This is a dangerous proposition given the fact that goods trains are operational on the line.

The hoodwinking is costing the migrant workers in terms of time and food. For example, another group of 50 workers in a factory in Hyderabad had to hide for two days before reaching the NH 44 Adilabad bypass which had completely depleted their supply of chiwda snack and biscuits.

Mayur Chandra, sarpanch of Bheemsari village in Adilabad rural mandal, pointed out towards the hungry and exhausted workers saying hundreds of others are suffering of hunger and thirst. He, along with his fellow villagers is organising free meals for the groups of workers at a makeshift kitchen in the fields close to NH 44 near the railway over bridge.

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