BHOPAL: Desperate to reach home, 18 migrant labourers travelled about 600 km hidden without food for two days inside a giant cement-concrete mixer but were intercepted by police at a check post on Madhya Pradesh’s Indore-Ujjain border on Saturday. The group of 18 men were on their way to Lucknow from Mumbai, a distance of nearly 1,400 km.
“One of our constables spotted something moving inside the giant mixer and immediately signalled the driver to stop the heavy vehicle. Inspection of the massive mixer drum revealed that not one, but 18 labourers were packed inside the heavy vehicle despite intense heat,” Indore’s Sanwer police station in-charge Sunil Yadav told The Sunday Standard.
The massive drum, which revolves to mix cement and concrete, was found searing due to the summer heat. “All the migrant labourers were asked to come out of the mixer drum and then made to sit at safe distance to ensure proper social distancing.
#WATCH 18 people found travelling in the mixer tank of a concrete mixer truck by police in Indore, Madhya Pradesh. DSP Umakant Chaudhary says, "They were travelling from Maharashtra to Lucknow. The truck has been sent to a police station & an FIR has been registered". pic.twitter.com/SfsvS0EOCW— ANI (@ANI) May 2, 2020
They were served food as they were hungry for two days. All of them were screened and tested by health department teams before being taken to Sangam Garden near the check-post in Indore till further orders,” Yadav said. According to the police station in-charge, all the Lucknowbound migrant labourers will be kept till the lockdown ends and sent by train or buses to their home towns in Uttar Pradesh once the travel restrictions are lifted.
The vehicle was impounded and a case registered against the driver, police said. It is not the first time that migrant labourers stranded, particularly in Mumbai and adjoining industrial towns, are using all possible means, right from walking on foot to pedalling cycles, to reach their homes in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar after losing jobs due to lockdown in Maharashtra.
On April 30, a 50-year-old man who was among a group of 11 migrant labourers pedalling their bicycles from Bhiwandi town, Maharashtra to UP’s Maharajganj district died in MP’s Barwani district. Two more migrant labourers returning home from Maharashtra had met with the same fate in Barwani district on April 21 and April 28.