Stream of migrant workers leaving Telangana dries up

Many suffered untold hardships to cross border to reach their native places

Updated - April 07, 2020 09:07 am IST

Published - April 06, 2020 07:50 pm IST - ADILABAD

A group of migrant workers forced to take a detour to reach the inter-State border on Penganga river bridge in Adilabad district.

A group of migrant workers forced to take a detour to reach the inter-State border on Penganga river bridge in Adilabad district.

The thick stream of migrant workers leaving Telangana, incredibly on foot, has finally ended and authorities on either side of the inter-State border demarcated by the bridge on river Penganga on NH 44 are left to contend only with transporters trying to cross over. The thousands of woebegone labourers who were ‘fleeing’ Telangana State, chiefly Hyderabad city, owing to the uncertainties of the lockdown had faced hunger and exhaustion as they covered the about 300 km between Hyderabad and the border.

Those manning the borders, especially this one on NH 44 which serves as the gateway of South India from the Central parts of the country, were clueless on seeing the prospect of caring for an unusually large number of pathetic people who kept coming in groups seeking to cross over into Maharashtra. Or even with the much smaller number of youngsters from Telangana and Andhra Pradesh who sought to come back from Yavatmal and Chandrapur districts.

Not knowing what to do, the authorities bundled about 100 migrants in a lorry and sent them in the reverse direction from Devapur cross road on NH 44 about 8 km from Adilabad town. “We had walked all the distance (over 300 km) from Gachibowli in Hyderabad only to be dropped 40 km back and here we are having walked that distance again,” disclosed a weary Raghavendra Argal, a building painter from Gwalior in Madhya Pradesh.

A few groups were ‘advised’ by the authorities to walk through agriculture fields and forest instead of keeping on the road to avoid being stopped or even sent back. Several groups of people lost their way and had to cross the inter State border at place away from the NH 44 often crossing the river at shallow water spots.

The officials on the border were also sympathetic to the workers and allowed many to pass through the checks. “We sent them off in lorries whenever we could,” revealed a functionary at the border.

Top police officials from Maharashtra visited the border posts and asked authorities on Telangana side not to allow the migrants to cross the border. “Who will have looked after the needs of such a large number of people,” observed the functionary responding to the suggestion of Maharashtra police two days back.

The labourers working mostly in construction industry, hailing from Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan may or may not reach their home. But what is certain is it is going to take a lot of persuasion if they are to agree to return to Telangana on return of normalcy.

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