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A journey of thousand miles — without money, food and in fear of police

Many among them have died, unable to cope with the harsh sun and in the absence of food. Last week, 16 migrant workers were run over near Maharashtra”s Aurangabad by a goods train after the exhausted migrants fell asleep on the railway tracks.

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New Delhi, May 13 : “We have not received food or ration for the last one month. Now the police is beating us as we are going back to our homes. Even Nitish Kumar (Bihar Chief Minister) has not done anything for us,” said a tearful Basanti, a resident of Bihar”s Motihari as she started her journey to her native place from the national capital on Wednesday along with a group of about 30 people.

They have already exhausted all their money and food as the nationwide lockdown due to the unprecedented coronavirus pandemic outbreak inched towards Day 50.

Their journey on foot started on Wednesday from the national capital as they were unable to afford the rail tickets for the special air-conditioned trains announced by the Railway Ministry.

Basanti is trudging along with a group hailing from Bihar”s Araria and Motihari — 1,200 km away. They hope to cover it in 20 days. IANS met them at the Vikas Marg, which connects Delhi”s Income Tax Office (ITO) area and Laxmi Nagar. Basanti, in her late 40s, said, “What will we do here? We have not got any ration or food from the government and even (Bihar CM) Nitish Kumar has not done anything for us.”

She alleged she was beaten up by the police at a check post, but she along with others managed to walk on. She said, “I will walk to my home in Motihari even if I don”t get any transport.”

“I will keep walking and rest on the way,” she said.

Basanti worked as a daily wager at a construction site in the national capital.

“I am going to Bihar as I don”t have any roof over my head. I cannot book a ticket from my phone because it is not a smartphone,” said Mohammad Masoom, a resident of Araria. He said the government only thinks about the rich and not the poor. That”s why they have started booking online ticket of Rajdhani trains,” he said.

He said the group spent at least three days outside the New Delhi railway station to try their luck to board a Shramik Special train, which started to transport the stranded migrant workers from May 1. But they were not lucky.

Soon after the group started off from Vikas Marg, it was again stopped by Delhi Police personnel. But they walked on, ignoring the police which asked them to stop. Meanwhile, on the Delhi-Noida road, there were over 100 migrant workers from Uttar Pradesh”s Jhansi and Madhya Pradesh”s Sagar and Chhatarpur districts who started to walk to their native place along with their belongings.

This group has over a dozen small children, being carried on the shoulder or the bicycle seat. Poona Devi, a resident of Sagar, who tied her one-and-a-half-year-old daughter to her back with the help of a cotton towel, told IANS: “We are going back to Sagar as we have no means to buy food or pay the rent of the room where we were staying.” Since the lockdown was announced, her husband has not been able to get any work and all their saving is already gone.

Madhu, another migrant holding her daughter in her arms, said they don”t have money and that they have no option but to leave for their native place. “I am going to Jhansi and it will take me about 10 days to reach my home on foot,” she said. Isn”t she worried about the harsh sun? “My husband has no job. Back home we will face problems, but I cannot leave my children here,” she said.

Will she walk it? “There are no buses or any other vehicles, so we have no other option.” She has one more child, about four years, who too walks along with his mother and her group.

“I am going to Jhansi and carrying my child on my bicycle,” said Rajkumar Pal, who is also travelling along with the group. Did he or his family get food from the Delhi government? “Since the beginning of the lockdown, we have not got any help from the government. We lived near Karkardooma court area,” Pal said.

In the last two months, thousands of migrant workers stranded at several parts of the country have started walking back to their native places. Many of them have hitch-hiked on trucks or have peddled their bicycles.

Many among them have died, unable to cope with the harsh sun and in the absence of food. Last week, 16 migrant workers were run over near Maharashtra”s Aurangabad by a goods train after the exhausted migrants fell asleep on the railway tracks.

The railways has been running Shramik Specials to transport migrant workers, students, pilgrims and tourists since May 1. To date, it has transported over 6.7 lakh people by 607 Shramik Specials.

(Anand Singh can be contacted at [email protected])

Disaster

Covid-19 cases in Russia surpass 674,000

Moscow, the country’s worst-hit region, reported 680 new cases, taking its tally of infections to 224,210.

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RUSSIA CORONAVIRUS

Moscow, July 5 : Russia recorded 6,632 Covid-19 cases since Friday, raising its total number of infections to 674,515, the country’s coronavirus response centre said on Saturday.

The death toll grew by 168 to 10,027, while 446,879 people have now recovered, including 8,986 over the last 24 hours, according to the statement, Xinhua reported.

Moscow, the country’s worst-hit region, reported 680 new cases, taking its tally of infections to 224,210.

As of Friday, 280,415 people were still under medical observation, while more than 20.7 million Covid-19 lab tests have been conducted nationwide, Russia”s consumer rights and human well-being watchdog said Saturday.

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Cities

Covid-19 cases in Maharashtra cross 2 lakh, record 295 deaths in day

Mumbai notched 68 fatalities, pulling up the city”s death toll to 4,830, whereas the number of corona patients shot up by 1,163 cases to touch 83,237.

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Mumbai, July 4 : With staggering 7,074 new coronavirus cases in a day, Maharashtra’s total tally crossed the 2-lakh mark on Saturday apart from a record daily high of 295 deaths, health officials said here on Friday.

The number of fatalities in the state on Saturday shot up from the June-lowest of 62 to 295 — highest ever after the earlier daily high of 248 deaths notched on June 23.

However, on June 16, Maharashtra had reported the highest 1,409 fatalities, taking into account reconciliation of earlier deaths, which drastically escalated the state toll.

With Saturday”s 295 declared fatalities, the state death toll climbed from 8,376 a day earlier to 8,671 and total cases to 200,064 till date, both the highest in the country.

This comes to roughly one death recorded every 5 minutes and a staggering 295 new cases notched every hour in the state on Saturday.

The recovery rate in the state fell marginally from 54.24 per cent a day earlier to 54.02 per cent, while the mortality (death) rate stood at 4.33 per cent.

July started with three-digit high of deaths and 6K plus new patients daily for the past three days, causing massive concerns among the health officials.

The Health Department said of the total cases declared till date, 83,295 are ”active cases” (ill), which is lower than the number of cured patients, indicating a positive development.

On the positive side, 3,395 cured patients returned home on Saturday, taking the total discharge cases to 108,082.

Of the total 295 fatalities on Saturday, Thane alone notched a staggering 179 deaths, outstripping Mumbai for the first time since the pandemic broke out.

Mumbai notched 68 fatalities, pulling up the city”s death toll to 4,830, whereas the number of corona patients shot up by 1,163 cases to touch 83,237.

Besides Thane”s 179 and Mumbai”s 68, 15 deaths were reported in Pune, 9 in Solapur, 7 in Jalgaon, 6 in Aurangabad, 5 in Palghar, 3 in Akola, 2 in Latur, and 1 in Yavatmal.

The MMR (Thane division) continues to be tense as deaths and cases continue to pile up, with a total of 6,312 Covid-19 fatalities and a whopping 4,045 new patients pushing up the number of positive cases to 141,828.

Thane cases have shot up to 45,833 with 1,254 fatalities to emerge as the second worst-hit district after Mumbai in the state, and outstripped the country”s commercial capital in the number of deaths (179) on Saturday.

Pune district comes third with 26,956 patients and 841 deaths till now.

Even the Pune division (comprising Pune, Solapur and Satara districts) fell way behind Thane and the MMR with 31,336 patients and 1,181 fatalities on Saturday.

The next major area of concern is Nashik division with 573 fatalities and 10,897 positive cases, followed by Aurangabad division with 312 deaths and 7,360 cases, and finally Akola division with 143 fatalities and 2,990 cases.

Kolhapur division has notched 55 deaths and 2,250 patients, Latur division had 51 fatalities and 1,174 cases, and finally Nagpur division recorded 19 deaths and 2,118 cases.

Among the eight divisions in the state, only Kolhapur and Nagpur recorded zero fatalities on Satuday, though there were new corona cases.

Meanwhile, the number of people sent to home quarantine increased from yesterday”s 589,448 to 596,038, while those in institutional quarantine decreased from 42,371 to 41,566 on Saturday.

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Cities

With 2,505 new cases, Delhi’s Covid-19 tally up at 97,200

On June 23, the capital had witnessed a peak of the highest single-day peak of 3,947 cases, but the number has come down steadily since then.

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Corona Death Body

New Delhi, July 4 : The national capital on Saturday witnessed 2,505 new coronavirus cases and 55 deaths, pushing Delhi’s tally to 97,200 and number of fatalities to 3,004, according to Delhi government”s daily bulletin.

As many as 2,632 patients recovered in the last 24 hours, increasing the number of cured people to 68,256. At present, 25,940 cases are active.

Over 9,925 RT-PCR and 13,748 rapid antigen Covid-19 tests were conducted. In total, 6,20,368 tests have been conducted in the national capital. Delhi has 448 containment zones.

Currently, 5,522 beds are occupied, out of 15,283 in various hospitals, 1,756 in the dedicated Covid Care Centres and 153 in the dedicated Covid Health Centres.

Over 16,004 people are under home isolation.

During the day, the Cabinet Secretary reviewed the public health response to Covid-19 and the implementation of guidelines and preparedness.

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