18 migrants traveling to Lucknow inside cement-mixer caught in Indore
On Saturday, 18 migrant workers were caught as they were traveling to Lucknow (Uttar Pradesh) hidden inside a cement mixer. The workers had started off from Maharashtra and were caught on their way in Indore, Madhya Pradesh. The development comes a day after the Home Ministry allowed special trains to ferry migrant workers stranded in different parts of the country. Here are more details.
Truck was stopped at Panth Piplai; driver's nervousness raised suspicion
According to News18, the migrant workers were caught during a routine check at Panth Piplai village, roughly 35 km from Indore. Traffic Police Sub-Inspector Amit Kumar Yadav told the publication that the workers had boarded the cement truck on Friday. Cops at the check-point were alerted by the truck driver's nervous reaction, following which, the cement mixer drum was inspected, NDTV reported.
Video of workers climbing out of cement mixer went viral
In a video clip, the workers can be seen climbing out of the cement mixer through a hole just wide enough. "Were you not suffocating inside?" a man can be heard asking the workers in the video clip, that has now gone viral.
You can watch the clip here
#WATCH 18 people found travelling in the mixer tank of a concrete mixer truck by police in Indore, Madhya Pradesh. DSP Umakant Chaudhary says, "They were travelling from Maharashtra to Lucknow. The truck has been sent to a police station an FIR has been registered". pic.twitter.com/SfsvS0EOCW— ANI (@ANI) May 2, 2020
Driver arrested; bus being arranged for workers
Indore Deputy Superintendent of Police Umakanth Chaudhari told News18 that the driver of the vehicle has been arrested and the vehicle has been seized. Meanwhile, the workers were sent to a shelter for medical examination and a bus is being arranged for them to be sent to Uttar Pradesh. Yadav told News18 that the workers had been rendered jobless due to the lockdown.
Nationwide lockdown proved especially difficult for migrant workers
Since the lockdown was imposed on March 25, several laborers lost out on work. Most of these workers hail from rural areas and travel to cities for employment. Jobless, and many even evicted from their rented accommodations, lakhs of workers decided to travel to their native states. Their plight made headlines when, amid a travel shutdown, the workers crossed hundreds of kilometers on foot.
Many workers also lost their lives trying to reach home
Hundreds of workers have even lost their lives on their journeys, either due to health complications stemming from their strenuous treks or accidents. A 50-year-old man died on Friday in MP's Sendhwa, after cycling 390 kilometers. He was traveling from Bhiwandi (Maharashtra) to Maharajganj (UP).
Yesterday, Centre allowed trains to ferry stranded workers
For the longest time, the Centre had restricted the workers from traveling across states and directed state governments to shelter them in relief camps instead. On Wednesday, the Centre eventually allowed inter-state movement of migrant workers via buses, if they have been stranded amid the lockdown. On Friday, the Centre also allowed "Shramik Special" (Laborer Special) trains to ferry them.