BHOPAL: Having lost their means of livelihood in Bhiwandi town of Maharashtra due to the lockdown, a group of migrant labourers decided to cycle their way back home to eastern Uttar Pradesh’s Maharajganj district, 1640 km away.
Amid extreme heat, the group of 11 labourers on bicycles started their marathon journey a couple of days back but shockingly lost one of their group members Tabarak Ansari in the Bijasen area of Madhya Pradesh’s Barwani district on the Maharashtra-MP border on Wednesday evening.
“Tabarak was around 50 years old and hailed from my village in East UP’s Maharajganj district. We all had lost our jobs in the powerloom unit in Bhiwani and were left with no money and no food, so we decided to cycle our way back to Maharajganj. But just when we had completed around 350 km of the journey, Tabarak suddenly complained dizziness and fell from the cycle on the road. He became unconscious and before we could do anything for him, he had left the world,” said a fellow migrant worker Ramesh Kumar Gond.
“Two of us including me have stopped here for completing all formalities related to Tabarak’s death and will leave if the authorities here make arrangements for us to take the body back home,” Ramesh said.
According to the local MP police inspector VDS Parihar, exhaustion and heat stroke along with associated dehydration could have caused the migrant labourer’s death, but the actual reason would be known only after the autopsy report.
This is the third death of a migrant labourer from UP or MP on the way back home from Maharashtra in the last 10 days.
Earlier, on April 21, another migrant labourer identified as Wakeel, a native of Shrawasti district of East UP, who was returning to UP on foot, had died while crossing the MP-Maharashtra border from the hillocks in Barwani district. Samples from his body were sent for COVID-19 tests, but the report is awaited.
Later on April 28, a 45-year-old asthmatic migrant labourer Baliram who hailed from a village in Barwani district had died while escaping from an inter-state check-post on the Maharashtra-MP border in his native district.
Baliram was returning to his native village Gawadi in Barwani district with his wife and in-laws, but fell unconscious while trying to reach his village via the hillocks.
On Wednesday, around 1000 migrant labourers, mostly hailing from UP and some others from MP, blocked the highway on the Maharashtra-MP border in Barwani district as they were not allowed by the administration and police to proceed to their destinations.
As per Barwani district collector Amit Tomar, the migrant labourers were stopped at the border check-post as there was a paucity of shelter houses for them. The collector and SP of Barwani subsequently discussed the matter with higher officials and in pursuance of the Union ministry of home affairs guidelines, it was decided to allow the migrant workers to go ahead only after thorough health screening by six medical teams and issuance of health certificates to the workers.