MUMBAI, India (AP) – Migrant workers are gathering at train stations in India’s financial capital, Mumbai, to return to their home villages now that anti-virus measures have dried up jobs in the affected region.
“What do I do now?” asked Ramzan Ali, who earned up to 500 rupees ($ 7) a day as a laborer but had not worked for two weeks.
He arrived at Kurla train station on Friday morning and joined a long line to buy a train to board a train to his village in Balrampur, Uttar Pradesh. Ali, 47, hopes to find a job in the village to feed his wife and four children.
The government of the state of Maharashtra in the state of Maharashtra on Wednesday laid such curbs for 15 days to check the spread of the virus. It closed most of the industries, enterprises, public places, restricted the movement of people, but did not stop the communication of buses, trains and air.
Emigration began, with panicked day laborers carrying the passengers of overcrowded trains, leaving Mumbai. Migration increases the fear of spreading the virus in rural areas.
Maharashtra has been the center of record growth of the nation’s latest infections in new infections. On Friday, India recorded another peak in the last 24 hours – 217,353 new cases, which surpassed the epidemic of 14.2 million since the onset of the epidemic. The Ministry of Health also reported that 1118 victims were registered in the last 24 hours, bringing the death toll to 174,308.
The rush among migrant workers was not as desperate as it was last year, when Indian Railways suspended all passenger train services due to a nationwide “severe” blockade. This forced tens of thousands of poor workers to walk or climb hot trucks or buses as they tried to return home.
In addition, northern states such as Punjab, Haryana, and the state of Rajasthan in New Delhi have not yet seen large-scale migration of labor migrants as it is harvest time. Large farmers hired workers to harvest wheat, other crops, and prepare to sow new crops.
Mohammad Aslam, 24, is a tailor in Mumbai, but said he has been unemployed for 18 days. He was queuing up for a train ride with relatives and others to the eastern city of Muzaffarfarpur in Bihar province.
“My big family has a farm there. I can earn some money working there,” he said.
Shiva Sanje, 27, was desperate to get on the train because her 70-year-old grandfather was seriously ill in Gorakhpur, Uttar Pradesh.
“I receive strong calls from my parents and other family members to return to my hometown,” he said.