Migrant from Mumbai Forced to Live in the Open | COVID 19

The ongoing lockdown has compelled thousands of people to return to their villages.

However, in the absence of public transport, many are forced to arrange for their own vehicles or walk on foot, several hundred kilometres along with their whole family.

Video Volunteers community correspondent Amol Lalzare brings to us the story of a migrant labourer Anil Panjage who returned to his village Yewla in Maharashtra's Jalna district after a gruelling 22-hour journey. However, upon his arrival in the village, he realized that the panchayat was totally unprepared for returning workers and was asked to live in the open farm with his wife and two young children.

Anil and his family decided to move out of Mumbai’s Annabhau Sathe Nagar when they came to know that Corona infections have reached their neighbourhood. They approached the local police twice to inquire for any transportation. But he was told that the government has not arranged for any transportation for people within the state.

Hence, Anil and 12 other people hired a private vehicle and spent 1500 rupees per person for the journey back to Jalna district.

Upon reaching Nashik, they were asked by local police to show their medical records and were subsequently let off. A similar police check post in Aurangabad asked them about their medical records and where are they coming from etc.

Starting at 6 in the morning, Anil and his family reached their village the next day at 7 in the evening. They were harassed by village sarpanch and 25 other men who came to their house asking them to live out of the village on the farms.

He asked to be housed in the local school or community hall but was refused. He requested the panchayat and gram sevak for ration and water but was refused that too.

Today he and his family live in an open field under the shade of a tree. He has to walk 1 km to get potable water and food is arranged by his relatives in the village.

Despite all the difficulties, Anil says he prefers to be in his village rather than live with the fear of being infected in Mumbai.

Anil's story highlights the struggle and lack of respect for labourers who literally build the nation.

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