Thakurmunda: Sunday night, a group of more than 100 migrant labourers working at Pattamundai in Kendrapara district embarked upon a 150-km journey to their native village Thakurmunda in Mayurbhanj district. This however, is not the first time they are embarking on such a journey. They have done it many times before, but this time the only difference is that they are being forced to cover the distance on foot. This is because the imposition of the nationwide lockdown to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
But then the migrants are not only returning from Kendrapara. Labourers from Cuttack, Puri, Jajpur, Bhadrak and Keonjhar districts have also embarked on a journey by foot to reach their respective villages in Mayurbhanj district.
A native of Thakurmunda village said Monday that he has been working as a daily wager in a factory at Pattamundai. However, they all decided to return home after work was suspended indefinitely.
“Most of us work in different factories. Since everything is shut, our employers asked us to come back only after things get normal, as they don’t have money to pay us,” the worker said.
Without any income, survival would be tough, the daily wager said. “Since buses and other modes of transport are not available, we have decided to walk the distance to reach home,” he informed.
The migrant is well aware about the threat of COVID-19 and also the importance of lockdown. Explaining the situation of the entire group he quipped: “Can you tell us how we will survive without any income for three weeks.”
Sources said that the Mayurbhanj district administration is making travel arrangements for the migrant workers returning from different districts Odisha and outside the state. But till those plans are finalised, the tiring tread for the migrants continues.