Mason walks for over 800 km from Delhi to be with family amid Covid-19 lockdown
While leaving Delhi on March 24, a day before the 21-day lockdown was announced by the PM, Om Prakash carried with him some rotis, which he consumed by the time he reached Hapur via Ghaziabad.
A mason who has been working in Delhi for the last 10 years walked for over 800 km and finally managed to reach his village Nadwa, in Uttar Pradesh’s Sidhharthnagar around noon on Sunday.
Om Prakash (38), covered the distance over five nights and six days to reach his destination.
He first walked for 580 km till Barabanki, reached Balrampur in an LPG delivery van and then covered the pending 240 km on foot. Om Prakash’s family were profoundly relieved when he reached home.
They had been praying for his safe return amid the mass migration of workers during the pan-India lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Om Prakash had walked the entire distance with a group of eight migrant workers from Delhi and had spent sleepless nights en route to his destination.
“My heart is at peace now. We couldn’t even eat or sleep properly after my son decided to walk home without any money. The only good thing for him was that he was part of a group. We were also scared that the police might assault them,” Bablu Chauhan, Om Prakash’s father said.
“There was no option but to leave Delhi immediately on foot as we all lost our jobs and there was no money left with us. Transport services were suspended and the disease posed a threat to our lives,” Om Prakash, a father of three said.
“I was more concerned about my old parents and family. At home, at least we are together and can look after each other in case anyone falls sick due to this virus or if there is a situation of starvation,” he added.
While leaving Delhi on March 24, a day before the 21-day lockdown was announced by the PM, Om Prakash carried with him some rotis, which he consumed by the time he reached Hapur via Ghaziabad. After that he lived on whatever was offered by generous people on the way.
Asked how he would manage if the lockdown continues, Om Prakash said: “I have heard that the government has planned free ration and LPG for all BPL card holders. Besides, we grow some crops on our little field.”
Another mason Noor Alam and his three brothers, who were stranded in Gorakhpur without food and money since the lockdown began, managed to reach home to Taryasujan of Kushinagar. This happened after district magistrate Vijyendra Pandian responded to their call for help and got them to board a UPSRTC bus on Saturday evening.
They were given lunch packets and screened by health officials. “We are dependent on daily work for survival. And now when there is no work, how will we survive?” asked his father Jabbar Ali, 50, who is suffering from diabetes and seemed relaxed after the return of his three sons.
Another native of the village, Shakir Ali, who was among the stranded labourers and returned home to the same village, rued: “I am left with no money, so I have no choice but to borrow from local lenders to keep going.”