Innovation In The Time Of Crisis, Only To Get Home

In the wake of covid-19 lockdown imposed on the entire country, three migrant workers from Bihar devised a clever idea for their 1,200 kilometre-long journey to get home.

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As the world tries to grapple from the scare of the novel coronavirus, there has been quite a lot of panic across the world and especially in India. Ever since the announcement of the 21-day countrywide lockdown, it has sent citizens into a frenzy. In this pandemonium, we came across a piece of innovation which has a story of desperation and helplessness wound around it. Similar to a ‘Jugaad’, this contraption was developed just to accomplish the simple act of getting home.

With state borders sealed and public transportation stalled, three migrant labourers from Bihar decided to leave their workplace in Delhi and head towards their home in Madhubani, Bihar. A distance of about 1200 kilometres! Amid a nationwide lockdown over coronavirus pandemic, migrant labourers across the country have one common worry: how to reach home. With no job, no food and barely any money, labourers are seeking for means to reach their native place. An incredible story has come across from Uttar Pradesh’s Chandauli district – bordering Bihar – of a group of three workers from Delhi who live in Bihar’s Madhubani. They rigged an old scooter’s engine to a pushcart to make their 1,200-km long journey from the national capital to their home easy.

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On the night of Thursday, March 26, Lalu Mahto, Gore Lal Mahto and one of their family members – were on a highway in Chandauli – about 330 km from Lucknow when they were given food by the district administration and curfew passes by UP cops to continue their journey unhindered. They told the cops on duty that they had decided to leave Delhi on Tuesday, March 24, as they had no food and money after all modes of transport- trains and interstate buses were cancelled, borders were sealed and a national lockdown was imposed upon the country.

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“Whatever money we had, we have finished. There was no other way (to travel). So we decided to use this makeshift vehicle. We will finish the journey in three days, perhaps four…. but we will reach,” Lalu Mahto later told reporters. According to the district administration in Chandauli, the men were given food, issued passes for unhindered travel and a medical check-up was also conducted. Across India, stories abound about migrant workers resorting to walking hundreds of kilometres since there is no other way left for them to reach the safety of their homes.

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