With all modes of transportation suspended due to nationwide lockdown, migrant workers across India are forced to take risky and daunting routes.
Some are crammed in trucks, some are walking along railway lines, and some are covering highways on foot to reach homes.
They are starved, tired, have no money, but they have kept all worries aside just to return to their native places.
Migrant workers got on trucks to reach homes
An incident from Maharashtra's Yavatmal showed the desperation which these vulnerable people feel.
During a routine inspection at a border post, officials came across two trucks, coming from Telangana and headed towards Rajasthan.
On opening these vehicles, officers found that over 300 migrant workers were crammed inside them. They hailed from Rajasthan and had taken the dangerous route to reach homes.
Most of the men were construction workers
Yavatmal Superintendent of Police M Rajkumar said the men were mostly construction workers and it will be probed how the truck got so far without being investigated.
"The officials at Pandharkavda toll booth found something was fishy as the drivers could not give a satisfactory answer as to what the trucks were carrying and where," a senior official said.
Officials don't know what to do with the workers
While action will be initiated against the drivers, the officers don't know what to do with the workers. "We do not know what to do with them. They need to go home for survival. We will take some decision soon," the official said.
Some workers are traveling on railway rakes
Unfortunately, this isn't the standalone case. Uttar Pradesh authorities told the Railways that several migrant workers traveled illegally on railway rakes. As part of the lockdown, rakes were being brought from Thiruvananthapuram to Gorakhpur.
Most of the men alighted in Jhansi, but it's unclear where they boarded the rakes.
After the matter got attention, Railway Minister Piyush Goyal stopped movement of all empty rakes.
Centre asked states to arrange food and shelter
Separately, some, who weren't able to hitch any rides, have decided to walk. Scenes of migrant workers, holding their belongings and walking on highways dominated media yesterday.
Acting on the issue, the Centre asked states to arrange shelter and food for these migrant workers.
Students, however, who are living away from home, were advised to stay put by Joint Secretary, MHA, Punya Salila Srivastava.