A young migrant worker from Madhya Pradesh, Ramu, began an arduous journey home from Hyderabad along with his pregnant wife Dhanwanta and infant daughter Anuragini. But with the lockdown in place, he could not find a bus or a truck to make the journey.
Undeterred, he wheeled his daughter and pregnant wife for most part of the 700-km route on a makeshift wooden cart that he made with wood and sticks, a feat that has been captured on video and shared extensively on social media. They reached their village in Balaghat district on Tuesday.
बालाघाट का एक #मजदूर जो कि हैदराबाद में नौकरी करता था 800 किलोमीटर दूर से एक हाथ से बनी लकड़ी की गाड़ी में बैठा कर अपनी 8 माह की गर्भवती पत्नी के साथ अपनी 2 साल की बेटी को लेकर गाड़ी खींचता हुआ बालाघाट पहुंच गया @ndtvindia@ndtv#modispeech#selfreliant#Covid_19pic.twitter.com/0mGvMmsWul— Anurag Dwary (@Anurag_Dwary) May 13, 2020
"I first tried to carry my daughter and walk. But it was difficult to walk the entire distance on foot with my pregnant wife. So, I built a makeshift cart with wood and sticks I found in the jungles on the way and then pulled the cart all the way to Balaghat," said Ramu, who walked for days without anything to eat to reach his village.
But as he entered his native district through Maharashtra, a police team, led by sub-divisional officer Nitesh Bhargava, provided the three with biscuits and food. He also gave new slippers to Ramu's infant daughter.
"We subsequently got the family to undergo medical check-up and sent them in a vehicle to their village in Balaghat, where they will stay in home quarantine for 14 days," Mr Bhargava said.
In another "viral video", a migrant labourer, also from Madhya Pradesh, is seen walking along an ox pulling a cart carrying his brother and mother-in-law. But the young farm labourer, who could only manage to find one ox, can be seen in the video, with his sister-in-law, pulling the cart alongside the animal.
"We left Mhow in the morning and have to reach our home in Patthar Mundla village. With no transport available due to the lockdown, we had no option but to join the ox in pulling the cart to our village," he said.
Incidentally, Mhow is almost 25 km away from his village, which is a part of Indore district in the state.
Migrant workers, stranded across the country due to the nationwide lockdown, have been walking hundreds of kilometres to reach home. Many of them have died on the way from exhaustion, while some have been killed in accidents.
On May 8, 16 migrant workers in a group of 20 were killed after a cargo train ran over them while they were sleeping on the tracks in Maharashtra's Aurangabad. The exhausted migrants may have likely assumed that trains were not running due to the lockdown and slept off on the tracks, police had said.