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27 Mar 2020

Al Jazeera

India: Migrant workers forced to commute back to villages on foot in mass exodus from capital

"Coronavirus lockdown: India grapples with migrant workers' exodus", 28 March 2020

A nationwide lockdown in India - the world's largest - over the coronavirus pandemic is wreaking havoc on thousands of migrant workers in the capital, New Delhi.

With few transport options available, thousands of people, mostly young male day labourers but also families, have resorted to commuting on foot during the 21-day lockdown...

...The workers started fleeing New Delhi after Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the lockdown, which effectively put millions of Indians living off daily earnings out of work. Construction projects, taxi services, housekeeping and other informal sector employment came to a sudden halt...

...Delhi state's Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said on Twitter that both Uttar Pradesh and Delhi governments have arranged buses for the stranded workers.

...The government of Uttar Pradesh, which borders New Delhi, sent a fleet of public and private buses with room for 52,000 people to a highway overpass area on the Delhi border where thousands were stranded, according to state government spokesman Awanish Awasthi.

As crowds swelled at border checkpoints across India, the regional governments were advised...to set up tented accommodation along highways for migrant workers and establish relief camps in cities...