Making the long journey a tad less painful

City residents step out to feed migrant workers walking back to their hometowns

Published - May 01, 2020 08:25 pm IST - Hyderabad

As the migration of workers from southern India to the north continued on International May Day, it was the citizens of the State who stepped in to help them. As the thousands of workers walked on National Highway 44, people from Kompally, Medchal and Toopran began distributing food, water and fruits to the weary walkers.

“We reached this place late and could distribute only 250 food packets. We still have about 80 food packets left. The day before, we had distributed about 350 food packets by noon,” said Eranti Santosh, a real-estate businessman from Medchal. He and his two sons waited under the Outer Ring Road bridge passing on the food packets to families and individuals walking from Hyderabad to various places in the north. Mr. Santosh said they have been distributing food for the past four days in the same area.

“We got food here. It was very difficult there (in Chennai). Some days we got food, other days we didn’t. If we reached the main roads, we were thrashed that’s why we are going home to Sultanpur in Uttar Pradesh,” said Tribhuvan, a painter, who started his journey from Royapettah in Chennai on Saturday. “From Chennai, our hometown is 1,700 km. If we get a transport, we will hitch-hike, otherwise we are prepared to walk,” said Tribhuvan.

Shivraj, a marble layer, who was walking with his friends Vikas and Kairi Singh towards Morena in Madhya Pradesh, a distance of 1,300 km, said, “If we go home, at least we won’t have to worry about food. Here it became a problem as we ran out of our rations.”

On a blustery hot day, the walkers had backpacks filled with clothes, bedsheets, a bottle of water and a cellphone. Some stopped to relax for a few minutes before resuming their walk again.

“We know the situation is bad. So we pooled money and are supplying food and water on the road. We distributed food right up to Dabilpur and Dandupally,” said J.D. Chinna, a mechanic from Kompally. He and his friends had pooled ₹8,000 to supply hot cooked food to the men and women walking home. “This is the least we can do,” said Mr. Chinna as their team rested by the roadside near Kandlakoya village.

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