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The long walk of India’s migrant workers in Covid-hit 2020

As the year 2020 draws to a close, we take a look at the migrant exodus triggered by the sudden nationwide lockdown announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi |
Updated: December 25, 2020 8:22:18 pm
Maharahstra bus accident, Migrants killed, Migrants accidents, Maharashtra news, Maharashtra coronavirus, India lockdown, indian expressMigrant workers in Maharashtra rush into a bus that arrived at the Madhya Pradesh to get back to their villages in UP, Bihar, Jharkhand as Covid-19 pandemic affected their livelihood in cities.(Express photo by Nirmal Harindran)

In a bid to contain the spread of coronavirus infection, the government announced a nationwide lockdown in March. But what followed over the next few months was the exodus of migrant workers from cities to their native places. In the absence of any mode of transportation, these migrant labourers embarked on long and perilous journeys on foot, walking thousands of kilometers, often without food.


Migrant workers on a foot over bridge in New Delhi. (Express photo by Praveen Khanna)

Crammed in a truck, migrants travel to their native places.

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Migrant workers and their families trying to leave Delhi after the nationwide lockdown was announced. There was chaos at the Anand Vihar bus stand. (Express photo: Abhinav Saha) A migrant family, on their way home to Uttar Pradesh, outside the Mayur Vihar Metro Station in Delhi on May 14, 2020. lockdown 4.0, migrants walk home, migrants exodus lockdown 4, migrant journeys coronavirus, coronavirus migrant crisis, migrants exodus coronavirus, UP migrants, delhi migrants, yogi adityanath, indian express news Ravi, a migrant from UP who sells vegetables in Gurugram takes his family of eight back to Lucknow in a rickshaw. (Express Photo by Vishal Srivastava) Pune Railway Station- Sanjay Nishad, a migrant worker from Uttar Pradesh’s Sultanpur district broke down as he waited for a train to return home. His 9-year-old daughter passed away back home and he was anxious to see her before her last rites. He was scheduled to take the Pune-Patna Danapur Special train scheduled at 10.45 pm and from Patna he would travel for 400 kms to reach home in Sultanpur district. There were no direct trains to UP. (Express Photo by Pavan Khengre) Anitha Chavan stretches her legs during her journey back home in Karnataka. A group of 13 masons and helpers, who used to work at construction sites in Baroli east in Mumbai, started walking on March 25. On the sixth day, they reached Loni near Hadapser on Pune Sholapur highway. They eat the rotis made six days ago along with whatever they get on the way and rest occasionally. They are from a village in Gulbarga district in Karnataka, 390 kilometers from Pune. A tired family rests on the side of a road at the Mhasla area of Raigad district. They walked from Virar near Mumbai to their native place in Konkan. Express Photo by Amit Chakravarty 19-04-2020, Ratnagiri.

Migrants walked back to their homes, without food or water.

Migrants from Bihar and West Bengal sleep at the state transport bus stand near Pune railway station. Labourers migrated in large numbers after the lockdown was announced due to the Coronavirus pandemic. (Express photo by Praveen Khanna)


Migrant laborers with families wait for their turn for medical scanning before boarding a bus in Chandigarh. Express photo by Jasbir Malhi Passengers on their way to New Delhi Railway Station in New Delhi.


Migrant labourers queued up at the Gujarat-Madhya Pradesh border to return home. Express Photo By Bhupendra Rana 29/03/2020 More than 100 migrants who came from various parts of India were quarantined at a school in Nanpara area of Bahraich district of Uttar Pradesh. The administration locked them after they insisted on going back to their hometown. (Express photo by Vishal Srivastav)

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