‘It was as if the entire country was walking’ -Jaideep Hardikar

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published Published on Jan 5, 2021   modified Modified on Jan 6, 2021

-RuralIndiaOnline.org

Months after walking home 800 kilometres in terrible conditions, migrant labourers in Maharashtra’s Gondia district recall their journey on foot from Telangana during the April-June period of the lockdown

When their options ran out, Vijay Koreti and his friends decided to walk home.

It was mid-April. India was under a strict lockdown brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic. And they wondered how long they could remain stranded in their small shanties in a distant land.

“Twice the police stopped our friends midway and sent them back when they tried to leave,” Koreti recalls. “But one by one they all left anyway, walking to reach home.”

The band of friends, who between them did not own a single smartphone with a GPS, had come up with a possible route:

Sirpur-Kagaznagar, in Telangana’s Komaram Bheem district, where they worked in a cotton ginning and pressing mill, falls on the Hyderabad-Nagpur railway section.

From there to Zashinagar, their village in Arjuni Morgaon tehsil of Maharashtra’s Gondia district, the distance would be 700-800 kilometres if they walked along the tracks. Gruelling, yes, but worth trying. And if they walked along the railway lines, there was less chance of them being intercepted by the police.

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RuralIndiaOnline.org, 5 January, 2021, https://ruralindiaonline.org/articles/it-was-as-if-the-entire-country-was-walking/?fbclid=IwAR1WZFHUdlV1NAJOLhDj6fd7kndCqmQOVBoYQAkCNtYNnERxEfyNberFK7k


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