Tuesday 11 May 2021
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Maharashtra witnesses migrant labour exodus again

Last year when the lockdown was imposed it was very difficult for us to leave Maharashtra, an autorickshaw driver said while leaving Mumbai

With a rapid surge in Covid-19 cases in Maharashtra and the possibility of lockdown in the state, migrants are once again heading back to their home states. Vishal Mehta, assistant manager of Indore Dewas Tollways said that for the past 4-5 days the tollway has witnessed queues of vehicles coming from Maharashtra. “Some people are travelling in their personal vehicles and others in auto-rickshaw, tractors and hired vehicles. The situation is not as bad as the last time when the lockdown was imposed. This time the traffic is manageable,” he said.

The people said they were leaving before the Covid-19 situation gets worse and they get stranded. Sanjay Yadav, who works in Palghar, Maharashtra, and is heading for his home in Azamgarh, said the situation is very bad.

“There are chances of lockdown there, and that is why we are going back to our home. Businesses are also suffering losses there as everything is closing down. We will come back once the situation is better,” Mehta said.

Surendra Yadav, an autorickshaw driver in Mumbai who left for his hometown in Jharkhand, said that last year when the lockdown was imposed, he along with his family had rushed back to his hometown, but when the situation got better, he left his family and came back to Mumbai in January.

“Now again the Covid-19 cases are rapidly increasing in Mumbai. Many people are returning to their homes from Mumbai. I didn’t know if I’ll ever return,” he said.

Arjun Yadav, another autorickshaw driver from Mumbai who is also going back to Jharkhand, said though traffic movement is not restricted in Mumbai, people rarely leave their homes due to the rise in Covid-19 cases.

“Everything is being shut down in Mumbai due to the rise in Covid-19 cases. Last year when the lockdown was imposed it was very difficult for us to leave Maharashtra.

That is why this year most people are leaving before lockdown is announced and we are again stranded there. I’m an auto driver. Though lockdown has not been imposed and traffic movement is allowed, there are no passengers. We were not earning enough to buy food,” he said.

Arjun added that because there was a lot of rush in trains he had left Maharashtra in his auto-rickshaw. Maharashtra reported 58,993 new Covid-19 cases, 45,391 recoveries, and 301 deaths on Friday.

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