VELLORE: Braving the blistering summer heat, three migrant workers have embarked on a marathon 1000 km journey to their native village in Sivaganga district from Shamshabadi in Telangana.
R Chellaiah, 41, A Sivalingam, 24, and K Alagappan, 26, hailing from Periakottai near Karaikudi, began trudging towards their homes on April 22 from Shamshabad where they were hired for creating stone sculptures.
They landed in the town on 9 March and worked for a few days before the lockdown was enforced. The employer had given them a little money and food for a few days but asked them to leave as soon as possible.
The men approached officials in Telangana but in vain. “Since our employers told us to leave, we approached the local officers of the Revenue Department. They did not help us,” said Chellaiah.
After spending sleepless nights, the distraught men started walking along the highway on April 22 with the hope of getting back home instead of wilting without proper accommodation and food.
On Monday, they reached the Vellore border after walking about 600 km. The men had very little money to spend, so they decided to purchase food only once a day.
“We buy lunch and keep a portion of it for the night also,” Chellaiah stated.
Narrating the horrors of walking along the highway, the trio found some shade in front of closed shops to take rest at noon, so that they can escape the wrath of the scorching sun.
Barring a few hours at night, they continued their journey. En route, one of them lost his footwear as it came apart.
“I had to walk barefoot for two days until reaching Vellore as my footwear came apart,” he said.
Moved by the plight of the hapless worker, a photojournalist gave away the footwear he was wearing to help him continue his mission.