Around 1.06 crore migrants left their cities of work and returned to their home states during the nationwide lockdown, the government said on Tuesday. This number includes those who travelled on foot, Minister of State for Road Transport and Highways V K Singh told the Lok Sabha.
As per official figures, 63.19 lakh passengers travelled to their home states in 4,621 Shramik Special trains between May and August, the Railway Ministry told Parliament recently.
Even when the Shramik Special services were operational, many migrant labourers were seen travelling on foot or taking rides in commercial trucks to reach their destinations, mostly in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. In big cities, migrants were frequently seen walking along highways in groups, carrying their belongings, during the nationwide lockdown, especially before the train services were started on May 1.
There were also road accidents leading to the death of several migrants. There was a case of 16 migrant workers being mowed down by an empty train when they were sleeping on the tracks near Aurangabad in Maharashtra.
The Road Transport and Highways Ministry, however, said that it did not maintain any specific data on how many migrants died in road accidents during the lockdown.
As per figures available, there were a total of 29,415 deaths in 81,385 road accidents between March and June this year.
“However, this Ministry does not maintain separate data in respect of migrant workers who have died in road accidents during the lockdown,” Singh said in his written reply to questions asked by Congress MPs Dean Kuriakose, D K Suresh and Mohammad Jawed.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines