An eight-month pregnant woman and her husband were offered monetary help and an ambulance in Meerut to cover the rest of their journey from Saharanpur to Bulandshahr after they were forced to walk over 100 kms on their way home without food when the latter’s employer turned them out without any money.
Local residents Naveen Kumar and Ravindra spotted the exhausted couple, Vakil and Yasmeen, when they arrived at Meerut’s Sohrab gate bus stand on Saturday and informed Prempal Singh, a sub inspector at Nauchandi police station, about their problem.
Ashutosh Kumar, the Nauchandi police station in charge, said Singh and the residents gave the couple food and some cash besides arranging for the ambulance to drop them to their village–Amargarh in Bulandshahr’s Syana.
Kumar said Vakil was employed at a factory and covered the 100 km distance with his wife over two days.
Yasmeen told police they lived in a room the factor owner had offered them. “But he asked us to vacate it after the lockdown was announced and refused to give us any money to go our village,” she said.
With no alternative, the couple started walking on Thursday from Saharanpur to reach their village. Yasmeen said that they had no food for the past two days because of complete closure of restaurants along the highway.
The three-week lockdown announced on Tuesday to curb the spread of the coronavirus pandemic has left millions of migrant labourers jobless and forced them to walk hundreds of kilometres to their villages in absence of any means to sustain themselves.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday apologised to the country’s poor over the hardships they have been facing because of the lockdown even as the government on Thursday announced an economic stimulus plan to provide direct cash transfers and food to them.