Navsari Police on Sunday arrested 11 migrant workers at a powerloom factory in Surat who were going back to their native places in Odisha on bicycles amid the lockdown imposed in the wake of COVID-19 pandemic.
Police arrested the workers, aged between 25 and 35, on national highway 48. Police sent the workers back to Bamroli area in Pandesara, where they were residing, after giving them food and conducting their medical examination.
The workers told the police that they were leaving to their native places in Ganjam district as they were left with no work and food.
A case was registered against them under IPC sections 188 (disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant) 269 (negligent act likely to spread infection of disease dangerous to life), 270 (malignant act likely to spread infection of disease dangerous to life) and Section 51(b) of the Disaster Management Act. They were later released from police station.
Navsari Rural Police Sub-Inspector Prakash Patil said, “We have arrested the labourers when they were crossing Mindola river. They wanted to go back to their home state on bicycle as they were facing shortage of food and money. We provided them food and also carried out medical examination before they were dropped back in Surat.”
One of the labourers, Shivshanker Gonda (32), said he has been out of work since March 22 and only had Rs 3,000 left with him which he used but pay rent and buy groceries.
After the lockdown, the mess where Gonda and 150 other used to have food, was shut due to shortage of vegetables and grocery items.
Gonda said, “Our life had become miserable in Surat staying without work, food and money. So we decided to go back to our home state.”
Another powerloom worker from Ganjam, Saroj Panigrahi, 26, said, “We have seen on google map that the total distance between Surat to Odisha is 1,532 kilomters. We have made calculation in such a way that every day we have to cover 100 kilometers and with this we would reach to our home in 15-16 days. ”
“We started on Sunday morning and after covering around 35 kilometers we reached to Navsari district and while crossing Mindola river, police caught us,” he added.
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