'No option but to walk home': Group of labourers set on 300km journey amid lockdown

Ghaziabad (Uttar Pradesh) [India], Mar 27 (ANI): Out of work and with no money at hand, a group of daily wage labourers set out on foot for a 300 km journey from Uttar Pradesh's Ghaziabad to their native village of Dausa in Rajasthan. The COVID-19 lockdown has left them with no shelter and food, they said.

"We are daily wage earners. They first said that lockdown will only remain until March 31 but then it was extended. There is no work and no arrangement for food and shelter for us. Earlier, we used to live in a park," Ram Lal, one of the migrant labourers, told ANI.

The country is under a 21-day lockdown to prevent the spread of coronavirus, which has already claimed 17 lives and has 640 active cases in the country.

Lal said that it should take around a three-day walk to reach Dausa, which is over 300 kms away from Ghaziabad by road.

"We spent all the money we had on food and other necessities during the first few days of the lockdown. Now, our families are also worried," he lamented.

Another migrant worker, Laxman, said that they have no other option but to walk home.

"We will get to have food if we find any 'Langars' on our way home. Otherwise, we will keep walking and have some snacks with whatever little money we have," he explained.

This comes despite repeated assurances by central and state governments of helping daily wage earners and poor people affected by the lockdown.

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharama had on Thursday announced a relief package of Rs 1.7 lakh crore for the underprivileged, poor and migrant workers.